What is Habakkuk syndrome?

Other than in my daily “through the Bible in a year” readings, I don’t read the minor prophets very often. But, my favorite book in the minor prophets is Habakkuk. I read through Habakkuk recently, and I was astounded at how easily the message could have been written to the United States of America in 2019 instead of Judah in 600 BC.

To summarize the Book of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk asks God how long He is going to allow the wickedness in Judah to go unpunished (1:2-4).

God declares that He is going to send the Chaldeans/Babylonians to destroy Judah (1:5-11).

Habakkuk questions God as to how He can use the Chaldeans when they are even worse than Judah (1:12-2:1).

God essentially tells Habakkuk to trust Him, and assures Habakkuk that He will judge the Chaldeans as well (2:2-20).

Habakkuk declares his faith in God and trusts in His salvation (3:1-19).

Living in the USA in 2019, I sometimes feel like Habakkuk. It blows me away how quickly the USA has descended into depraved wickedness. Romans 1:28-32 could be our national slogan. It isn’t just the embrace and promotion of homosexuality. It isn’t just fact that tens of millions of abortions have been performed in the past 45 years. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like the world has been turned upside down, but in the opposite way from Acts 17:6. What’s good is now considered evil, and what’s evil is now considered good.

I know God’s judgment is coming. Sometimes I am surprised it has not already arrived. The recent change in my thinking is this — I actually want it to come.

But, like Habakkuk, I wonder, who can God use to judge the USA? Islamic terrorists? Russia? China? They're worse than us, just like Babylon was worse than Judah. Maybe it won’t be a nation or a terrorist group. Perhaps it will be natural disaster or financial collapse. Maybe it will be all of the above. I don’t know who or what God is going to use, but whoever or whatever He decides to use, it isn’t going to be pretty.

The problem is this, as bad as the USA is, and continues to get, there is no nation that is significantly better. Sadly, the USA might still be the least ungodly nation on the planet. How can God judge us when other nations are even worse?

Like Habakkuk, I do not understand why God sometimes delays His judgment. Like Habakkuk, I do not always understand the ways that God demonstrates His wrath. Like Habakkuk, I tremble at the judgment to come (Habakkuk 2:16).

And, striving to be like Habakkuk, I am trying to trust God no matter what, no matter how long His judgment is delayed, and no matter the means by which He institutes His judgment.

No matter how bad things get: “...yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength...” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

“Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

S. Michael Houdmann

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What is Habakkuk syndrome?