“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted”
I can’t help but realize this verse is as relevant today as it was in Habakkuk’s day, if not more relevant. He speaks of pain, sorrow and strife befalling himself and those around him. He speaks of the righteous being surrounded by the wicked. He sees violence and destruction take hold of the earth and cries to the Lord, seeking help and justice, but hears nothing. Have not our own brethren today experienced the same pain and sorrow? A man puts his trust in a brother only to be betrayed and turned upon. A righteous man is slandered by the masses for calling people to a true faith. Husbands and wives of the victims of 9/11 cry “why” and beat their fists in the ground. The country gasps as hurricane Katrina moves swiftly through New Orleans. For the evil we experience today is no less than the evil Habakkuk experienced.
Is this not the Problem of Evil at it’s core? From our lowly view we see injustice, iniquity, pain, wrongdoing and violence and ask God why He is not there, why He isn’t doing anything. If God is all powerful, all knowing and Just, why is their so much pain in the world. Why is evil permitted and even ordained?
The Lord: “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told”
The Lord gives Habakkuk three commands: Look, wonder and be astounded. These don’t seem like the adjectives that would come naturally for all the evil and hurt we experience in this world. God’s command seems so against our nature. But what if the Lord really is doing a work that we “would not believe if told?” He must, for our God is a righteous God, full of justice and mercy and would not allow or even permit evil without a purpose. Do we know what that purpose is? Some might argue an answer but I believe the Lord’s response to Habakkuk is a call for us to realize that God’s ways are not our own. God see’s time eternal. The way we reason the Problem of Evil in our lives is not the way our Lord sees evil. How can we call foul on God? How can we say to God that we cry out “and He will not hear?” We can’t. For we do not know that God is near. That he hears our every word. That he is a compassionate God full of love and mercy. How often do we cry to God and limit his response by simply thinking He will only respond in one way. We harden our hearts when we limit God’s freedom of expression in His response! May our hearts be soft and palpable, open to any direction of the Lord!
God calls us to look. To have our eyes wide open. Not to shield ourselves from the evil of this world, but to truly see it as it is, an indescribable evil that is against the very nature of God Himself. He calls us to wonder. To marvel at who He is and at what He is doing. He calls us to be astounded. To step back staggering from his goodness and to know that His ways are so completely incomprehensible to us that we will never understand in this life. The Lord wants our reaction to Him to be full of passion and to know that He is just, that evil doesn’t slip by Him, He sees all. So may we have our eyes open and may we marvel at our God, trusting that He knows best for us and this world. For our God is good, just and righteous and loves us dearly.
(ORIGINALLY POSTED: June 10th, 2o08)