It's been what I like to call a Habakkuk season in my life. In fact, last night I reread Habakkuk along with 1 Thessalonians. Here's the Cliff Notes version of Habakkuk:
H: God, what are you up to? These people who claim to know you are acting awful, and you don't seem to notice.When I get to the point when life doesn't seem to make sense, I always come back to Habakkuk. I read it a lot.
G: That's okay, I'm going to raise up even more awful people to destroy those people.
H: Ummmm... God? That doesn't seem very righteous.
G: I'm really awesome, and let me tell you how much I hate sin.
H: Wow. I don't get it, but I'll trust you anyway.
Adjusting Quinn back to early mornings for school is like trying to wake an angry bear two months early from hibernation. Every day. It's emotionally exhausting. Add to that jumping back into teaching high school, which can best be described as interactive improvisation with a captive hormonal audience, and I've been exhausted. Then throw in an intense personal life that has me feeling drained of every last smidgen of emotional stability, and it's no surprise that I've cried multiple times every day for the past two weeks. You know it's bad when I'm crying at Taylor Swift songs at 6:30 in the morning and reruns of The West Wing while running on a treadmill. There's no chance I'm going anywhere near the Hallmark card isle right now, that would invoke reactions too embarrassing even for me.
So what is up with Habakkuk? I didn't like that book the first time I read it. If you just read the words, then it doesn't really make sense. Why would Habakkuk suddenly become okay? I thought he had a pretty good point that God's actions don't seem to make sense or really fit into his character. But what really gets me is that God never really answers his questions, and I don't like that because I have a lot of questions, and I want answers, and they need to be better than the ones he gave Habakkuk. For sure.
Brene Brown (just had to work her in again) talks about the need for certainty being one indicator of our fear of vulnerability. Bet you're squirming in your seat after that sentence. Wholehearted people have learned to live without certainty. Another ouch. But she also talks about leaning into the difficult emotions of fear, grief, and uncertainty as being healthy. That is the tension of Habakkuk, leaning into the fear and uncertainty while accepting that there is no good answer here.
For months after we lost our daughter, my only prayer was to know that God loved me. I knew there were no satisfying answers. No matter how God redeems grief, there is no good answer for why things like that happen. Ever. And anyone who tries to give you an answer should be immediately punched in the face. Immediately.
But knowing there isn't an acceptable answer is exactly why I need to press into God and ask the questions. At some point it occurred to me that Habakkuk's answer isn't in God's words, it's in his presence. God doesn't say anything particularly different in Habakkuk. In fact, God spends most of the Bible repeating himself. But God shows up when people really ask, maybe not immediately and maybe not how we expect, but he shows up.
Sometimes asking the questions, though, feels like leaning off the edge of the roof and hoping the wind holds you up. Just asking the questions often feels like opening the whirlwind of crazy hiding out in my head. And if I open the door to my crazy, I may not be able to close it again. I'm not always willing to take that risk.
So I read Habakkuk and shake my head and pray for God to show up because I just don't understand a whole lot of things. This crazy joy that floods my heart doesn't push out the grief. In some strange way it makes the grief deeper and harder, even though those emotions coexist with joy in some bizarre harmony. It's the joy that helps me lean into the grief, like an anchor that helps me know that even if I fall off that roof and unleash my crazy, God will show up.