We can trust him.
"How long, Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen, or cry out to You about violence and You do not save? Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted." --Habakkuk 1:2-4
I don't know about you, but these questions, these words, hit the nail right on the head for me. They were written over 2,500 years ago, but I can still see the world asking the same questions today (and, let's be real, for the foreseeable future).
Habakkuk is the only book written by a minor prophet that serves as a dialogue between the writer and God. It was written in Judah after King Josiah, a major reformer, died.
I often think that it takes the loss of a loved one, a friend or family member, a martyr, to get us to start asking the tough questions. Oswald Chambers said it this way, that "Our soul's history with God is frequently the history of the passing of the hero. Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place."
So when life gets tough and we come to our end, we look to God. We ask Him the questions that are wrenching at our hearts. "How many times do I have to ask you for help, God?" "Why are you allowing these terrible things to happen?" "God, I know that You say You are good, but You really don't feel good right now."
It's hard, to see injustice in the world, even though we know the reasoning. We fall captive to our emotions and the things that we can see, rather than trusting His word that says He is just.
God's response to Habakkuk's questioning is one of my very favorite pieces of scripture, and I'm sure I've talked about it before on the blog. His response is beautiful and tender and so full of hope:
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." --Habakkuk 1:5, NIV
Here's what I get from this passage, looking through the lens of 2020: life is hard, and unfair, and unjust. People are suffering from COVID-19 who do not deserve to suffer. People are being oppressed based on the color of their skin. Others are being persecuted for their faith, regardless of what religion they follow. We are all working and living under the thumb of an unjust government that does little more than use the masses to progress its own power.
It's not right. No one ever said it was. And God never said that things like this would never happen. In fact, He said quite the opposite in John 16:33, that "in this world you will have trouble." But then He gives us the promise that "I have overcome the world." He gives us the same hope in Habakkuk 1:5.
God can handle our questions. He can handle our grief and pain and righteous anger. He too wants to see the world turned right-side-up. Because of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, we know that God will indeed make all things right.
Christ will return one day and fix it all; we need only be patient and wait for Him. But until He does come back, there is still work to be done. Oswald Chambers continues: "Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or--I saw the Lord?"
So, when you are faced with the tough questions in the midst of an even tougher world, will you feel faint? Will you fail and get discouraged? Or will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue moving forward with the hope and the knowledge and the truth that God is righteous and just and will bring it all to pass?
We can trust Him, friends. He is sovereign and mighty and just. It might not feel good, but He is good.