With some of the difficult events which have been taking place in the world this past week I thought I would pass on to you Pastor Jon Bergemann’s devotion. Pastor Bergemann serves our brothers and sisters at Trinity Lutheran in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Devotion: “How long, O 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 wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
This was the heart wrenching prayer of a believer named Habakkuk who lived about 2,600 years ago. As he looked at the world around him, he saw evil and violence of unspeakable measure. He felt the presence of terrorism in the Middle East (the Babylonians). He knew of unspeakable violence and atrocities that such armies could commit, often killing innocent civilians and even children in their destruction. He saw corrupt government officials in his own land. He feared for his own safety. And he just couldn’t fathom how evil the world had become.
Perhaps you’ve had your own “Habakkuk” moments, too. Perhaps you have cried out to God from your heart and poured out your fears to him while living in a world full of evil.
If so, there is comfort in the prayer of Habakkuk. It reminds us that this world has always been broken since the fall into sin. That evil has always been here. And that God’s people (even authors of books of the Bible!) through the centuries have wrestled with the same fears and feelings that we do today.
But his prayer also reminds us that God wants to hear what is on our hearts and in our minds. God sees the evil of this world and hates the evil, too. And God promises to strengthen his children, even in the darkest of times, with the light of his promises and the shelter of his power.
God didn’t explain to Habakkuk in detail how he could still make all things work out for his good, even in a world full of evil. But he did reassure him that he would be his God forever, and that in the end, justice would prevail.
Habakkuk’s response? Listen to the last words of his book, words that we can carry with us to give comfort in all times: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Rejoice in God, your Savior and your strength. He enables you to go on.