We all have a need for justice. Some of the toughest times in my life are when I feel the wicked are prevailing and the righteous, God’s people, are getting the short end of the stick, so to speak. Habakkuk is feeling the same way. It’s around 605 B.C. and the Babylonians are wreaking havoc over God’s people. The prophet, Habakkuk, questions God, “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me, there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.” (Habakkuk 1:3-4)
Can you relate to what he is questioning? Do you feel a little like Habakkuk, wondering how a loving God can allow evil to prevail? Is God stuck in some kind of Godly paralysis?
Years ago, I counseled a young man whose family had been destroyed by infidelity. He told of his sorrow and the loss he felt because he no longer had, what he considered to be, a “true home.” Holidays were split. Family events were awkward. Grandparents were at odds. Divorce had ravished his life through no fault of his own; but, he said something very profound and mature for a young man in his early twenties. He said, “But, you know Pastor, I did some crazy things in my teenage years. I probably drove my mom and dad to the brink at times. I wrecked my car. Made bad grades. Skipped school. Got into a bar fight. Got arrested. But through it all, I knew my mom and dad not only stood by me, but loved and forgave me. We’d pick up the pieces and keep moving. Somehow, I have to show my dad the same level of love and forgiveness he showed me. Sure he had an affair and destroyed our family. But, it can’t be any other way.”
There are times in life when we have to wade through our losses. It means we have to experience the grief of our hearts, release the tears of pain, work through the struggles of disappointment and shattered dreams and let the Holy Spirit teach us not only to endure but to live and heal and grow.
I love oak trees. Some that have been around for hundreds of years, stand so proud and their majestic beauty is overwhelming to me. To sit at the base of such a tree, under its protective shade, secure in the thickness of the trunk, reminds me of God’s word and guidance in my life. Oak trees have two kinds of root systems: surface roots (which are very fragile) and tap roots (which can dig as deep as the tree is tall). Tap roots cement the tree. They give the oak its foundation and are the reason the oak can sustain gale force winds and torrential storms. Do you know when tap roots grow the most? Because they need a source of water, they dig down deep during times of drought.
The world around you might be in chaos. You may believe your questions and problems are falling upon God’s deaf ear, but I want you to know, He’s there. It may feel like He’s on vacation or mad at you or listening to anyone but you, “But the Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)
Sometimes we have to reach a level of committment in our walk with God which expresses to Him total devotion, even when our world is in disarray. Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Do not fret; do not worry; God is not paralyzed; He is on the throne, knows your name, knows your need, and knows your answer. And He is on the way! He is the voice of hope in despair. He is freedom rising up in the midst of bondage. He is making a way for you to overcome and declare victory. He is God, and He is mighty.
Though you may have lost your job; though sickness may run through your family; though you may be facing foreclosure; though divorce may be knocking at your door; though your child may be in trouble; though death may have taken someone you love; though you may have been betrayed; yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will be joyful in God our Savior!