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Wrestling with God (Part 3)

February 21, 2010

Wresting through prayer

So often, when we tell our children something, they continue to have questions for us. Sometimes their response is an attempt to argue or a route to disobedience. Sometimes, though, it is just a lack of understanding that brings on questions. With their youth and limited experiences, they often do not have the perspective that you as a parent do to understand a situation. It is easier for us to see the big picture. The prayers recorded in first chapter of Habakkuk remind me of a confused and hurting child questioning his parent.

The short book of Habakkuk includes three prayers that the prophet prayed. The first two are in chapter 1 (2-4 and 12-17) and the third is in chapter 3 (1-19).

In the prophet’s first prayer (1:2-4), he lays out some serious complaints before God. He openly complains to God about:

  • Violence
  • Evil
  • Misery
  • Destruction
  • Fighting
  • Lack of justice
  • Wicked outnumber the righteous

But most of all, he is beginning to think that God is not listening. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? He could be describing today’s newspaper headlines! It is easy for us to understand what Habakkuk is saying. What does this look like for us? What forms does this kind of injustice take today? How about:

  • The drunk driver who, on his fourth DUI, takes the life of an innocent young person
  • The godly couple who wants a child but cannot conceive, but there are unwanted babies being aborted every day
  • The active, vibrant, otherwise healthy parent taken suddenly by illness or accident

Until today, I would have put the East Texas church burnings on the list. Thanks be to God there have been arrests. These are real injustices and real heartaches that real people face every day. They pray and it seems like nothing happens. This is what Habakkuk is praying about.

But what he is really confused about is that God does not seem to even be listening. Notice I said “seem”. Habakkuk is confused because he thought God was just and would not let His people suffer like this. The problem is not that God is not just, it is that our understanding of justice is not the same as God’s understanding.

In the next “Wrestling with God” post, we will make a few observations about Habakkuk’s prayer.

Do you struggle with understanding the injustice you see in the world around you? Do you cry out to God about your confusion? Is it alright to question God like this? Let us know what you think.

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