LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2b
This is an interesting and overlook-able four words right in the midst of Habakkuk‘s prayer to God. First he praises God for his awesome deeds, asks Him to make those deeds known, then he takes a twist and asks God to have mercy when He’s doling out His wrath. It’s almost as if Habakkuk’s saying, “go easy on those who can’t really see your awesome deeds!”
Contrast this with another prophet, Jonah. After Jonah preached to Nineveh, he sulked because he knew that God would spare Nineveh if they repented. And God did spare Nineveh (one instance of Habakkuk’s prayer being answered).
I find that I fall into Jonah’s camp of desiring God to completely destroy civilizations much more often than Habakkuk’s view that God should exercise mercy when He’s angry. It’s a tension we need to experience occasionally to keep our emotions and thoughts in check. It probably wouldn’t hurt us to err on the side of mercy.