First Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:1-4

Understanding God's Will

1:2 YHWH, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you "Violence!" and will you not save? 3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.

2:1 I will stand at my watch, and set myself on the ramparts, and will look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

2 YHWH answered me, "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it. 3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won't prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won't delay. 4 Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith."

World English Bible

Why do tragedies occur? This question has vexed believers for thousands of years. Why, God, have you allowed such an evil to befall us? Why don't you hear us?

Habakkuk was a prophet in Jerusalem just before the fall of the city to the invading Babylonians. He saw the anxiety of those in the city and the coming destruction of the invasion. His cries reflect the atmosphere of uncertainty. [1:2-3]

Then, the prophet waited for God to answer. In time, the answer came, even as the readers fled the city. The faithful would survive, while the selfish would lose heart. [2:1-4]

In the face of tragedy, God comes to bless his people. But in ways that logic does not understand. God does not come to explain himself or his actions. He comes to comfort the weak and strengthen the resolve of the faithful.

Acts of evil, small or large, happen. Why doesn't God intervene? We do not have good answers for that question. But, with faith, we can see the good that grow out of the experience of evil. We can see that God is close at those times that we might be convinced he has abandoned us.

How has God remained close to you in times of trouble?