I’ve said it before, pain hurts. It hurts bad. We don’t like pain. We don’t like how it infiltrates our lives with it’s constant reminder that we are, after all, human in some way shape or form.
And that’s only physical pain.
Emotional and spiritual pain is even worse.
And that’s not new to us in the 21st century. For millennial people have suffered, pained, hurt, and cried out wondering why on earth was there pains and struggles in the world. And why, why were they going through it at all.
The prophet Habakkuk (hab-ah-kuk or ha-buck-kuk or…it’s hard to pronounce) does this very thing.
In November I will be going through a series looking at the pains and struggles that Habakkuk points out, questions God about, and how we work through them.
Habakkuk was a watchman. His very name stems from the Hebrew word to clasp, grasp, to wrestle with. Habakkuk looks out at the world around him and questions God on why there is injustice, pain, suffering, and hurt in his nation which is supposed to be the people of God.
Looking at Habakkuk, I almost envision him like a film nori private detective interrogating a suspect on why they were at a particular crime scene (hence the picture above). As a watchman, he keeps his post, watching over the city walls of the Holy City. He demands to know why God is silent at all the crud he sees around him.
“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.” Habukkuk 1:2-3
You ever do that? When things are going to pot fast. When it feels like it’s all going to H-E-double hockey sticks in a hand basket? Why is there suffering? Why is there pain? More so, why am I going through this suffering and pain? Why am I struggling with this crap right now in my life? What’s going on?
Habakkuk asks God why is he silent and not stepping in when His people are doing wrong to one another.
God’s answer: You think this is bad, just wait, it’s gonna get worse.
God gave the people of Israel this land. He rescued them from oppression and slavery in Egypt and brought them to this place to live in such a way to show the world who He is. They were to live distinct and different from the nations. Instead, they not only lived like all the other nations around them, losing their distinctiveness, but they became worse, giving a bad name to themselves and to God who set them apart to proclaim his blessings.
Things will get worse. Babylon is a comin’. And it ain’t gonna be pretty. There is suffering now, but because of the bad decisions, idiotic political ploys, and down right stupidity of the people of Judah, Babylon will decimate the city of Jerusalem and haul its inhabitants into exile in Babylon. There is pain now, and there will be even worse pain in the future due to the injustices done, the bad poloticing by, and the down right meanness and stupidity of God’s people.
And Habakkuk hears this. And it pains him. He asks God more questions. Habakkuk asks why would God allow such a thing to happen? For things to get even worse?
In God’s response, He tells Habakkuk what will happen. That things will get dark and painful. Yet in these remarks, God says two interesting things:
“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
“The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 2:20
What pains and hurts are you going through right now? What struggles are you dealing with? Things are tough right now. And things might just get worse. You might have once been on the mountain top of a walk with Jesus, and now it feels like you’re walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. You were once doing swell but now life is in the midst of total suckage. I wish I could tell you things will get better, but I can’t. It might totally suck for a while.
Yet in our cries out in our pains and struggles, God gives us the words of hope. He is there. He is present. He won’t let you go. Our savior, Jesus, who descended into Hell itself for you, is with you now through it all. And the earth truly will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.
So, in the midst of the pains and struggles, be silent before God. Be still and know He is God, he is the one who will He honored in the midst of your pain and struggles, for He is with you and will never leave you nor forsake you even when things totally suck right now.
So keep your watch. Keep an eye out for pain, struggles, injustice, cry out to God for He is present and is at work even when you can’t see Him there.