Spotlight 07: Trust in God creates joy in Christ
“Joy in Christ” is not something that just materializes. Sometimes life throws up questions for which there seem to be no answers. District Apostle Norberto Carlos Passuni follows in the footsteps of the prophet Habakkuk and tries to find some answers.
The word the Chief Apostle gave us at the beginning of the year is found in the book of Habakkuk. The prophet highlights a particular characteristic of the bride of Christ: the joy in the Lord.
I carefully read everything Habakkuk wrote and then tried to find out more about him, his life and his mission. But apart from hypotheses I was not able to find anything concrete. Not even in Scripture was I able to find any references to him that could help me get a better picture of him. And then I came up with the following thought: Maybe it was not necessary to identify the author or to immerse oneself in this man’s personal story because his thoughts could have been the thoughts of any many at any time.
The question: Habakkuk’s complaint about injustice
The book starts with a kind of dialogue between God and the prophet, who says, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And You will not save” (Habakkuk 1: 2). Habakkuk condemns the injustice and violence that the people were constantly exposed to at the time. His question, “How long?” describes the situation of the believer who has reached the end of his strength. He is on the verge of losing hope that he will ever receive an answer to his question. He has the sense that nothing will change.
The first answer from God makes his confusion even greater. God explains to him that He is going to use the Chaldeans as instruments in His hands to punish the people for their wickedness. Habakkuk asks why God uses the wicked for His plan to punish the righteous. God’s course of action surely threw up many questions and confused the prophet even more.
The answer: Trust in God
In the second chapter God asks the prophet to place all his trust in Him and summarizes this with the following words, “But the just shall live by his faith” (verse 4). “Faith” implies loyalty and strong trust. The just are promised life on account of their faith in the word and will of God. This is the way that is shown to the believers. The answer is not in line with God’s initial thought, but it is a guiding principle for one’s life of faith and the great possibilities it offers.
The prophet has understood the message. With his answer he asks, as it were: Who is God for me?
The way: Time to overcome
And then we come to the text that closes the prophet’s thoughts, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord …” Reality is not disguised in the book of Habakkuk. Everything is described as it was seen and felt. Nothing is glossed over. In spite of everything, Habakkuk says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3: 18).
The prophet has overcome many things. The Lord gave him time and helped him to get over his personal assessment. Although he still had to grapple with the same painful reality, he changed in the core of his being. God invited Habakkuk not to rethink the facts, but to rethink and renew his bond with Him. Only when he could place his trust in God did Habakkuk find and recognize the true cause for joy, which is always there no matter what kind of situation we are in.