Life is often very
hard. You didnâ€™t come to this blog just to hear that, did you? I
think most of us know that. Look around. Listen to your friends. Look
at what is happening. For years, I’ve had the privilege of listening to countless life stories which reveal that many experience difficult lives. On another level, I know that life is often difficult through my own life experience. Perhaps, if
you are like many, life just hasnâ€™t turned out like you expected.
- Your marriage has been difficult. In fact,
it has been downright tough! You wonder, â€œIs it supposed to be this
hard? Why havenâ€™t we experienced more joy?â€
- One of your children continues to make poor
choices even as an adult. Your sonâ€™s life or your daughterâ€™s life
has been one long trail of poor decisions. You never dreamed being a parent could be this painful.
- You look down the street and see neighbors who
party every weekend. They live a blatantly immoral life. Their
life seems to be on cruise control. Meanwhile, you walk with
God. You sincerely want to live in obedience to him. Yet, for
you, life is a constant struggle.
- You continue to experience financial
problems. You donâ€™t live extravagantly. You try to pay your
bills on time. Yet, you lost your job. Your wife got
sick. Your car broke down. How long will this go on?
So what do people do when life just hasn’t turned out very well?
Some people respond to such circumstances by denying his existence or his
love. â€œIf God exists why doesnâ€™t he â€¦?â€
- Some people speculate that
they know why they are going through this turmoil. "God is punishing
me for something Iâ€™ve done."
- Some become cynical and
bitter. They bristle at anything connected with God.
- Some people shut down
emotionally. They continue "going to church" but they refuse to
open their mind, heart, and emotions to God. They go through the motions (maybe
for the sake of their children) but they have shut down.
- Some people continue to
believe but wonder what to do with their questions.
The question many,
many people ask is: "Why Doesnâ€™t God Do Something about This?"
Habakkuk asked a similar question many years ago. In Habakkuk 1:4, there is talk
of these evil persons within Judah.
There are also references here that seem to allude to the time period when Babylon had Judah in subjection. Mighty Babylon is flexing its military muscle.
It is in this context that Habakkuk does a most unusual thing. He speaks for
the people to God.
Habakkukâ€™s complaint is that many people of Judah in the reign of King Jehoiakim
(609-598 B. C.) have abandoned Godâ€™s righteous standards. Just twelve
years earlier in the time of King Josiah, there had been sweeping spiritual
reform. Now they have forgotten what the Lord has done for them.
They seem to have spiritual amnesia.
On every side Habakkuk hears and sees violence â€“ a critical breach of Godâ€™s
order and design (1:2-3). Strife and conflict take their toll on human
relationships (1:3). There are quarrels and deceitful dealings between
people (1:3). People are at one anotherâ€™s throats. Godâ€™s desire
for his people is completely ignored.
Habakkuk sees this situation and wonders where God is. Does God
know that things are out of order? Habakkuk is not crying out to God
because things are difficult. He does not cry out to God because he no
longer believes. He cries out to God because of his deep conviction about
the character of God. He believes that God is just. He believes
that God is against violence and injustice. Yet, there is so much going
on around him that seems to suggest that God isnâ€™t doing anything.
Habakkuk turns to God in prayer. Yet, God seems to be silent. He doesnâ€™t seem to
be doing anything. Habakkuk cries out, â€œHow long, O Lord, must I call for
help but you do not listen?â€
Have you ever prayed
a similar prayer? How long must I pray about our marriage and there
doesnâ€™t seem to be an answer? How long must I pray about our financial
problems and there doesnâ€™t seem to be an answer? How long must I pray
about my health and there doesnâ€™t seem to be an answer?
Maybe the first step is to return to Scripture and look at people like
Habakkuk. Watch him (and others in the Bible) as they bring their
questions to God. These are hard questions. Maybe these are
frightening questions. Nevertheless, this seems to be a place to begin.