17 Oct If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil? Part 2: A Study in Habakkuk
The Bible is the most honest book ever written. Page after page are real stories about real people with real struggles and a real God who alone can really help. One of the most real books of the Bible is Habakkuk. In it, we read the tear-soaked prayers of a man who is on the brink of losing hope for his own life and for the world in which he lives. Here are his own words as he meets with God in Habakkuk 1:12–17 (ESV):
Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?
When life collapses around you and you find yourself stressed and depressed, it is vital that you do three things, learning from Habakkuk’s examples.
One: you must accept reality. Denying reality, ignoring reality, or pretending that reality is not real does not help, because reality exists whether or not we agree with it. When speaking of who and what he was up against, Habakkuk uses the following brutally honest words: evil, wrong, traitors, wicked, rejoices and is glad (over injustice), luxury, rich, and mercilessly killing.
Two: you must remind yourself of God’s character. When life’s problems are big and bad, we have to remember that our God is bigger and better. Habakkuk reminds himself that God is “everlasting,” “Lord,” “my God,” and the “Holy One” who has “purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong.” God knows the future since He has “ordained” it; He is our Judge who brings “judgment,” and our Creator (“You make mankind”).
Three: you must meet with God. Habakkuk 2:1 (ESV) says, “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” When trouble is present, it is more important than ever to seek God’s presence. This is what Habakkuk does. Like him, we need to get away from our problems to get focused silence and solitude as we meet with God. This happens through opening our Bibles, praying, and seeking the mind of God. In order to listen to God, we must be quiet and be patient as we await His instruction and direction.
Four: you must get above your circumstances. By getting above, Habakkuk literally changed his vantage point. Spiritually speaking, when we meet with God, we should be seeking to do the same.
Perhaps a classic preaching analogy will help us understand this point better. When a weaver uses a loom, the work looks very different from under the loom as compared to above the loom. When looking up from under the loom, one only sees knots and haphazard bits of yarn that seem out of place, random, and disorganized. Yet, when looking down upon the loom from the top, the picture is entirely different. From above, we can see that the weaver had a beautiful picture in mind, meticulously labored to bring to pass. So it is with God. As we look up, we do not see what He is doing. By getting spiritually above the loom of life through prayer, Scripture, and time with the Spirit, we can begin to see that God is good and working out all things for the good of those who love Him as Romans 8:28 promises.
Is there anything pressing in your life right now that would benefit from an extended time away? When can you schedule a meeting with God to work it through together?