We can get so discouraged by the evil around us. We dwell on the hypocrisy, the greed, the sin, and forget to turn our eyes to the ways God is redeeming and making creation new. But he is working. Despite the sorrows we see, he is sanctifying and working his redemption in churches across the globe—in communities, in families, and in the hearts of individuals.
My kids know our safety rules. We hold hands while walking, stay close to the shopping cart, and lock our doors when we leave the house.
They know them, but they don’t understand the real reasons we have them. Stories of sex slaves, mass shootings, and home invasions are ones they don’t hear. Not yet.
But I do.
I know a world awaits them in which men and women might use their power to assault them and take their innocence. A world where murders sometimes go unpunished and justice isn’t guaranteed. Where others rejoice and mock the death of infants, children are mutilated to the applause of adults, and leaders are clothed in hypocrisy.
I see this world now, and I’m tired. The stories seem relentless. Some days evil seems too strong.
Lord, where are you?
Buried in the Old Testament is the tiny little book of Habakkuk, which has more to say to us than we might expect. The book’s three short chapters speak of hardship, but they also tell of hope. Habakkuk was written during a time of great disobedience in Israel. King Jehoikim, who reigned in Judah, followed his disobedient fathers and “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 23:37). Destruction and violence prevailed among God’s people (Hab. 1:3), justice did not exist (Hab. 1:4), and the wicked ruled over the righteous.
The small book contains a conversation between God and the prophet. In this conversation, we see four distinct reminders for those who live in a world where evil reigns.
Remember to Pray
One of the first reminders from the prophet Habakkuk is the reminder to pray. Sometimes we find ourselves believing we shouldn’t question God. Perhaps our doubts or our grievous laments will show a lack of faith. We might strive hard to keep it together.
Yet Habakkuk opens with a phrase resembling a complaint to God. A worn-out man pleads with the Lord and asks, “Why do you idly look at wrong?” (Hab. 1:3).