When Your Life Is Hard (Part 2)

desert.jpgLife is often very
hard.  You didn’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 hasn’t turned out like you expected.
 

  • Your marriage has been difficult.  In fact,
    it has been downright tough!  You wonder, “Is it supposed to be this
    hard?  Why haven’t we experienced more joy?”
  • One of your children continues to make poor
    choices even as an adult.  Your son’s life or your daughter’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 don’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.  “If God exists why doesn’t he …?” 
  • Some people speculate that
    they know why they are going through this turmoil.  "God is punishing
    me for something I’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 Doesn’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.

 
Habakkuk’s complaint is that many people of Judah in the reign of King Jehoiakim
(609-598 B. C.) have abandoned God’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 – a critical breach of God’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 another’s throats.  God’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 isn’t doing anything.

 
Habakkuk turns to God in prayer.  Yet, God seems to be silent.  He doesn’t seem to
be doing anything.  Habakkuk cries out, “How long, O Lord, must I call for
help but you do not listen?” 

 

Have you ever prayed
a similar prayer?  How long must I pray about our marriage and there
doesn’t seem to be an answer?  How long must I pray about our financial
problems and there doesn’t seem to be an answer?  How long must I pray
about my health and there doesn’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.

 

(See part one here.) 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “When Your Life Is Hard (Part 2)

  1. When God does answer it is not what Habakkuk wants to hear (1:6 & 1:12-16). Even though Habakkuk doesn’t like God’s answer he accepts it and waits patiently (3:16-19). In the end all he can do is turn to God and trust God’s response. We are in the same boat. We may not always like God’s answers but all we can do is wait and see. In the end our faith will be strengthened.

  2. Have you read How I Suffered From My Theology and Regained My Faith by Jennifer Brost?
    It’s a pretty radical look at the whole topic of suffering that would compliment what you’re saying well.

  3. I love to study the book of Job when i am struggling with something in my life. Sometimes we have to wrestle with God over particular issues in our lives. But i think it all comes down to just accepting that God knows what is best for us and we just have to place all our trust in him.  

  4. God could have changed the circumstances surrounding his Son’s crucifixion, but he didn’t. So why do we think he should step into the circumstances of our lives? He stepped into humanity to prove he cares. The cross forever stands in history to prove his love. 

  5. I wish it were so easy as it sounds, this waiting.God doesn’t answer job, or Habakkuk or anyone else, at least not the answer they were looking for, he answers  the "why?" raised by them with a show of his power and sovereignty. right now i would rather have some comfort and a divine arm around my shoulder.

  6. Phillip,You are right.  Dealing with a difficult life may sound easy but it rarely is.   In fact, it may be extraordinarily difficult.  As you indicate, like Habakkuk suggests, God often doesn’t respond the way we would like.

  7. Richard, You say this very, very well.  I like what you said about believing that God knows what is best for our lives.  You are so right.