Reverent Honesty

I love the Bible’s authenticity. In fact, this is one of the many reasons I believe the Bible is true. The heroes aren’t perfect. People of faith have doubts. Prophets have questions. Habakkuk is no different, especially when he receives the difficult truth that God will raise up the wicked Chaldeans to judge God’s people. But with his questions, he models for us how we can approach God in times of doubt. This approach is what I call “reverent honesty.”

Habakkuk prays, “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:12-13)

First, you can hear the reverence in his prayer through his descriptions and names for God. He acknowledges God is from everlasting; he references Him as “my God, my Holy One,” and “O Rock.” He knows God is holy and cannot look at evil. So in this prayer full of questions, the first thing we should see is that it is full of praise and truth about God. 

Second, Habakkuk seems to realize the difference between asking God questions as opposed to questioning or accusing Him. Coming before God with our questions is perfectly acceptable; He is our heavenly Father. But asking God the honest questions of our heart is different than questioning His character or accusing Him of evil. 

So how does the concept of “reverent honesty” help us approach God with hard questions?

  1. Remind yourself of the clear truths about God. For example, remind yourself that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), if you are faced with the question “How could a loving God allow this?”
  2. Praise God for the great truths that are clear to you, just as Habakkuk does.
  3. Be honest about your doubts, questions, or confusion in your conversation with God.
  4. Ask God for faith to believe, even when all your questions are not fully unanswered. This is one of the key lessons God is teaching Habakkuk, and us, in this short book.

How have you dealt with the hard questions of faith you have encountered? If it hasn’t been with reverent honesty, take some time to respond with the four steps outlined above. And if needed, ask a Christian leader to walk through this with you.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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