Mummy and I talk almost every weekend. We chat about everything and anything pretty much; but invariably, she always brings me up to speed with her thoughts about what’s happening back home. The main topic of our conversation usually is the godlessness in society and the resulting corruption and crime. Many times, she tells me she cannot believe that this is the same country in which she was raised. She has seen morals and values decay. In her words, “There is no reverence for God, and everyone seems to be doing what he wants.”
In reality, we can say that about any country today. One way or another, we see deterioration of values and morals. Crime, violence, corruption, and injustice are widespread. For many of us, it looks like the world we live in is spiraling out of control! We may be asking God, “Where are You? How long before You do something? Will evil continue to prevail?”
We are not alone in our thoughts and our cries to the Lord about: immorality, modern day slavery, violence, murder, disregard for life, persecution of Christians, corruption, injustice, ISIS, and evil. In the seventh century BC, the prophet Habakkuk cried out to the Lord, too. He saw the wickedness, injustice, evil, idolatry, corruption, and indifference to God’s law in the nation—the same things we see today. He was perplexed, questioning why God was doing nothing about the moral and spiritual decay among the people.
As far as Habakkuk was concerned, God’s very name was at stake. In the prophet’s mind, God should have already intervened. Though he was praying, it was as if God was not hearing Him.
2 How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
3 Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
4 The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.
For Habakkuk, things were not changing the way he thought they should or the way that would be consistent with who he knew God to be. So, he concluded that God was doing nothing.
Have you ever been there? Maybe you are there now. In your mind, you believe God is doing nothing to effect change in the world or in your circumstances. You watch the news and see:
- people being forced out of their countries by extremists
- refugee camps overflowing with people who have nowhere to turn
- Christians executed by terrorists
- the unborn murdered and their body parts sold while no one is held accountable
- people being gunned down while going about their lives
- politicians lying for power
Or maybe you have been crying out about your marriage, infertility, illness, joblessness, debt, a wayward child, divorce, or broken family relationships. You wonder if and when God will do something.
Here is good news: God is on His throne! He is control of all things, and He is always at work in the world and in the life of His people. In answer to Habakkuk’s questions God says:
“Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.” (Habakkuk 1:5)
The Lord was working, but His work would take Habakkuk by surprise! In Habakkuk 1:5-11; 2:2-19, God tells Habakkuk how He was going accomplish His purposes: He would raise up the ruthless Babylonians to judge His own people. This answer only further confused the prophet. How could God use the sinful Babylonians to judge His own people? The Babylonians were worse than the God’s people.
Habakkuk’s response—even in the midst of his confusion—was to go up to his watch tower and seek and wait upon the Lord. Habakkuk did not have to understand or trust the details of God’s plan. He knew he could trust God’s word, His leadership, and His sovereignty (Habakkuk 3:16-19).
Beloved, weary, wrestling, and doubting, the Lord is at work in this world and in our lives for His purposes. His plans are perfect because He is perfect. He is holy and just. We may not understand His work. We may not be able see clearly with human eyes what He is doing. But be encouraged: He hears our cries and sees our plight, even when it doesn’t feel that way to us. Like Habakkuk, let us, in faith, continue to seek, trust, and wait upon the Lord. He will make all things beautiful in His time. He is doing a work we wouldn’t believe!