The Sea of Faith
Sovereign Lord, I seek You, desiring to find You. I ask, trusting Your wisdom. I knock, because You open doors.
Read Habakkuk 1:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Reflect on these words from a hymn by William Cowper, “God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform….” God’s ways aren’t always ours, but they’re always good.
Some years ago now, a very questioning theologian wrote a book entitled The Sea of Faith. I am uncomfortable with this as a title for the content of our Christian faith because our beliefs are given to us in God’s revelation in Scripture and, pre-eminently, in Jesus. However, I think describing our experience of living by faith as a “sea,” is appropriate and evocative. Sometimes, the Christian life is like a smooth, sunlit, warm sea: glowing, supportive, refreshing. At others, following Christ faithfully may seem like living in a raging storm where there is no resting place and we are fearful about whether we can survive. This seems to be how Habakkuk found it. “How long, Lord?” (2), “Why do you tolerate wrong?” (3), “I call for help, but you do not listen” (2). Here we have the sea of faith. Turbulent and distressing questions arise as Habakkuk faces deep and perplexing challenges about the prevalence of injustice in the nation. Then comes the even more threatening answer from God that he is going to use the epitome of evil and cruelty, the Babylonians, to sort it out! Who can survive such a tempest?
As Christians, life should challenge us more than it does our pagan friends because we have God to take into account as well as the twists and demands of life. We need to think more deeply unless we are prepared to live dualistic lives. We need to feel more sensitively about ourselves, those close to us and our world. We need to look further afield because our horizon is not ourselves, but “all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Like Habakkuk, we should not close our eyes to the world’s suffering because we are God’s watchmen!
That is why questions like “How long?” are part of believing; they show we belong to God and understand something of his divine character.
List three challenges to your faith in a loving, all-powerful God: a personal one, a family one and a global one. How will you deal with them?
Lord, keep me open to the unexpected, knowing that all things are possible with You. Keep me trusting, knowing that Your ways are always good.
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