Prophet Habakkuk knew that spiritual progress and struggle go hand in glove. Therefore, he learnt to confront struggle in a new way in order to avoid inward struggle about the outward struggles of life.
Saint Teresa was amazed to discover that in her daily life interior struggle and deep, solid peace often co-existed. With habitual authority she stated: “Just because the soul sits in perpetual peace does not mean that the faculties of sense and reason do, or the passions. There are always wars going on in the other dwellings of the soul. There is no lack of trials and exhaustion. But these battles rarely have power any more to unseat the soul from her place of peace.”
As for Habakkuk, silence in God’s presence ignited an awareness of God’s justice and a realization that ultimately sin, evil, crime, greed, oppression, immorality and falsehood are doomed to destruction. When we practice contemplation of God’s holy love and His Word, we are empowered by His Holy Spirit to engage in the struggles of people for justice, peace and reconciliation. Contemplation is not escapism from the struggles of life.
Habakkuk’s fear transformed to faith and rejoicing, leading him to say: “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights” (Hab. 3:18-19). Even when visible signs of God’s presence or favour were unseen, Habakkuk rejoiced. He had earlier asked why God allows the wicked to go unpunished? The answer is that God does not; He is still on the throne. God acted in the past and He will do so in future. When discouraged, fix your eyes on Jesus who died and rose again from the dead. Contemplation on Him ignites within us hope and joy that passes all understanding.