Sometimes I pray and God gives me what I ask for. But I have learned the answer rarely looks the way I think it should. I pray for God to use me in greater ways. His answer? Refine me through some of the hardest things I have ever faced. I didn’t understand it then. I am beginning to now.
God moves me in a new direction. I go, trusting it to be His will since I spent time praying about it and felt it was what He was asking me to do. I go, believing it will be good for my family, ministry, and myself. I find myself in a situation where trust is all I have because the facts aren’t looking good. I don’t understand it, but I am on my way to a place where I can.
Sometimes God’s answers don’t seem to make sense, and the path He takes us down is very different than the one we would have picked for ourselves. Times like these were running through my mind as I picked up Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel.
Not usually a fan of nonfiction, the title caught my attention immediately. The subtitle drew me in. When God’s Actions Collide with Our Expectations. I had never read any of her books, but I was intrigued. I began reading the Bible study the moment I got home.
While other scripture is used, the main thrust of the study is the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk. Really? I am ashamed to say I had never really studied the book before. I should have. It’s one of those tiny books in the Old Testament that is sandwiched between Nahum and Zephaniah. Through this study, I have definitely learned not to take the small books for granted!
Amazed and Confused is set up in chapters. Each chapter starts with narrative about a section of Habakkuk. The author uses real life illustrations to highlight her points. Each chapter ends with questions to reflect on and journal pages to use if you are so inclined.
As I read it, I was reminded that I am not the only one in history to be confused by God’s answers. I am not the only one to wrestle with the hard questions like why the wicked seem to prosper so much or why God would allow bad things to happen to good people. Habakkuk questioned too, and he was a prophet.
Written simply and honestly, I came away from Amazed and Confused feeling encouraged. Zempel’s commentary gave me new perspective and understanding on themes I’ve heard all my life as a Christian. She didn’t offer easy solutions. And she admitted we may not have all the answers. But, even then, she gave practical ways to handle those times according to scripture. Zempel caused me to stop and think about what’s really going on when I just don’t get what God is doing, and she did it using Habakkuk.
By the Book: Read through Habakkuk. What questions have you hesitated to bring to God? What has kept you from asking Him? Has God ever given you an answer you didn’t understand? Look back at what has transpired since then. Is the reason any clearer today than it was then?