When God feels absent
“Where are you, God!?” Have you ever felt like yelling this out at the top of your lungs? I know that I have. Our world is a mess right now, and sometimes it seems as though the people called “Christians” are not much different from the world. In the book of Habakkuk, we see the tension that’s present when what the prophet sees in the world around him doesn’t match up with his beliefs.
Devotional Time: Habakkuk 1:1–4 (NLT)
This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision. 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. 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. 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.
In an LA Times article written during the 2008 economic downturn, we read of a landscaper named Eli Estrada who had to make a choice between his convictions and his needs. Mr. Estrada had recently opened a landscaping company, and moved his mother into his home to take care of her. He was struggling to keep up with providing the needs of his workers and family when he stumbled upon a bag in the middle of the street filled with unmarked $20 dollar bills. To be exact, $140,000 in cash! Eli’s first thought was, “I’m rich!” However, almost immediately, he decided to turn the bag over to the local police. The article reports: Estrada said he was content with his decision, though admitted “it was hard to give up.” Authorities said the money was lost by Brinks armored truck drivers. Long Beach Police spokeswoman Dina Zapalski said she had never heard of someone turning in so much cash. “I’ve had people come to me with purses and wallets with cash in it and they’ll turn it in, but not like this.” Zapalski said officers were surprised that Estrada didn’t ask for a reward. Instead, he went right back to work. It is hard sometimes to hear the good news in all the bad we see.
However, God is in the business of good news and is looking for reporters to speak out about all that he is up to. Even though the days we live in may seem dark, and at times we have difficulty seeing what God is up to, we are to keep our faith and focus upon the never-changing character of God. I encourage you to continue reading in the book of Habakkuk and ask God to reveal, to you, your part in proclaiming good news in bad times.
God, Lead me away from the temptation to curse rather than bless others. Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. Allow me to be a blessing to all and provide for me the heart to do what is right no matter the circumstances I might face. Thank you, God, for all you are. In the name of Jesus, AMEN!