Brokenhearted Complaint

Stephen Shaffer

READ : Habakkuk 1:1-11

Why do you make me see iniquity? (v. 3)

I was taught never to complain. As Thumper said in the movie Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” It was better to keep my mouth shut than to complain about what was going on.

The prophet Habakkuk must not have seen Bambi because he complained a lot. The prophet saw injustice, unfaithfulness, and violence all around him, but God did not seem to act. The whole world had turned upside down, but God did not seem to care. Habakkuk was both brokenhearted and indignant at God’s seeming lack of response. So he complained. He was very discontent, because the world around him was not as it should be. He threw his frustrations before the God he believed was responsible and able to redeem his broken world.

Actually, Habakkuk’s complaint is a form of trust. He trusted God to be able fix what had gone wrong. God did not rebuke Habakkuk. He heard the prophet’s complaints and, even though God was already at work, he responded.

Our complaints can be a form of trust. They are not very nice, but Habakkuk shows us they can be right nevertheless. When our hearts are broken by the suffering and destruction around us, bringing our pain and frustration to God shows that we trust him to respond. In complaining to God, we join our voices with Habakkuk, crying out to God for justice and redemption. We can complain because we trust God is strong enough to respond.


Lord, help me to trust you, even with my complaints. Amen.