Confusion is a mental state where things are not congruent. The pieces of the puzzle simply do not fit. They not only do not fit, but you also seem to have a different puzzle to put together than the one you hold in your hands. We get confused when people treat us badly or are indifferent. We get confused when things do not add up. We get confused when things do not make sense. We are, however, really confused when bad things happen and the perpetrators seem to get away with it. That is exactly what happened to the prophet Habakkuk. The first part of the tiny book reveals his doubts and troubling questions he had for God. He wondered why God tolerated evil and why sinners were not punished. He was confused as to why the good people did not prosper but bad people did. He wondered why God was silent and did not answer his prayers. Habakkuk’s words are written for us today, “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:2-4).
The dangerous thing about confusion is that it changes us. It makes us depressed, discouraged, and even critical. We do well to not ignore confusion but to look for clarity. Some people have ignored the confusion in their life for years and have suffered for it.
Habakkuk knew where to take his complaints. He is known as the father of faith. His expression of faith "the righteous shall live by faith," influenced Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley and millions of others. He is an example to all of us that when we are confused, we should take it to God and share our hearts with him. God will listen and respond. He may not answer our questions with the answers we desire. He may not even answer our questions, but he will answer us.
God did answer Habakkuk, and the answer was certainly not what he expected, but it brought clarity to the prophet’s mind. Habakkuk realized that God knew what he was doing even when he did not. Therefore, what he needed to do was to completely trust God. Thus, here are Habakkuk’s famous words that have inspired us “the righteous will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4). After processing everything and listening to God’s answer, he eloquently described a renewed faith in God. The difference between chapters one and three is night and day. Habakkuk’s words that end his tiny book show that God brought clarity out of his confusion:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
In the beginning of the book he was confused and felt that he had to have answers to move forward, but at the end he is resolved and faithful. Even if he is without some things in life—even answers, he has the faith to trust God, and that makes him strong.