“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you, ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?”
Habakkuk is really an interesting book in the Old Testament. It’s a prophetic book. Habakkuk is a prophet, but what’s interesting in this book is usually you have God speaking to his people through the prophet, but in Habakkuk, you actually have Habakkuk speaking a lot to God on behalf of his people. This whole book is like a dialogue between Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk is watching as the Chaldeans, otherwise known as the Babylonians, are about to destroy Judah, the people of God. Habakkuk is wondering why and, “Where is God in the middle of it all?” We just see a struggle of faith in Habakkuk. It’s here in these first words that come out of his mouth, “Why? O Lord, where are you in the middle of all of this?”
We can pray honestly before God knowing that He cares for us even when we do not understand.
It’s one of the things that I love most about the Bible. It’s real. It’s raw. The Bible does not gloss over the hard realities that come from sin and evil and suffering in this world in ways that, if we’re honest, cause all of us at some point to ask, “God, do you hear us? God, do you care about what’s going on?” This is Habakkuk saying, “I cry to you, ‘Violence.’ Will you not save? Do you care? Are you good? Are you going to show your power? Are you powerful? Are you holy?” He says later in this chapter, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil. You can’t look at wrong, so why are you allowing this to happen? Where is your power? Where is your word? Where is your justice?” In the middle of it all, Habakkuk’s faith is just being shaken. He’s asking honest questions, not in rebellion against God, but just in pleading before God.
I can only imagine that some people listening to this right now are walking through times like that. If you’re not walking through a time like that right now, that is you may soon at some point walk through a time like that. I just want to encourage you. I wish we could study the whole book of Habakkuk to ask those honest questions before God and to go to his word and realize, indeed, this is what Habakkuk would realize, and we’ll see this in the next couple chapters, but God does hear our cries. He does care for his people. God is good. God is holy. God is all-powerful. He is just. He will show his justice in due time. Ultimately, God is worthy of our trust. Let me just encourage you to pray honestly before God, particularly with any struggles you’re walking through right now, with a humble heart before him but an honest heart before him.
We pray: God, we have limited minds, limited perspective, limited understanding, limited knowledge. We look around and we don’t understand why this or that is happening, how you could allow this or ordain that. God, we look to you with honest hearts, with hearts that often times hurt, and we plead before you for grace in the middle of trial. God, I pray for those who are walking through trial right now, walking through circumstances where they’re tempted to wonder if you’re even there and if you care. God, I pray that they would know that you are there. I pray that they would know that, indeed, you care. You care so much. You are our Father in heaven. You are completely good. You are completely righteous. You are completely just. You are totally worthy of all our trust. God, I just pray those realities over those who are asking those questions right now.
I pray that, indeed, in each of our lives, in my life, and in the life of those who are walking through these difficult things, God, that we would grow, just as Habakkuk did as he asked these questions, we would grow to know you more, grow to know your justice more, your righteousness more, your holiness, your goodness more even in the middle of trial. God, I pray that you would shower your goodness over those who are walking through difficult circumstances, you’d shower your grace on them, the power of your presence with them as they walk through this and give them faith on days when faith is hard to come by. Help them to hold onto the hope that we know is found in you. Ultimately, Jesus, we know you have conquered sin and evil and suffering and death and, one day, you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. We hold onto that promise, that reality. I pray for that kind of hope to enable brothers and sisters to persevere in the middle of trial and suffering and unanswered questions in this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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