Cruising Route 66
Answers Aren’t Always Enough
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.
Our world is full of people who don’t believe in God, and if asked, they would probably say: “If there is a God, how could He let so many bad things happen?”
If there is a God … Why then do tiny babies die? Why are the innocent killed by cancer, drunk drivers, and active shooters? Why did 6 million Jews get incinerated for no other reason than the fact they were Jews? Why does a mother in the prime of life, with a bright future and family, get cancer and not know if she will live or die?
Those are tough questions. Dare we ask them? I don’t presume to know a lot about suffering. In my life, I’ve done very little of it. The Bible has a lot to say about it, and one of the clearest things it has to say is … It’s o.k. to question God.
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why, then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” Habakkuk 1:13
Religious people aren’t used to questioning God. The Psalmist says, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.” (145:17) In other words, being God means never having to say you’re sorry, and we tend to just say okay, and never question. We’re not used to questioning God. What we are used to doing is defending Him. It never occurs to us that God can probably take care of himself.
We want to find reasons for all the bad stuff that happens because we see life as a tapestry of light and dark, good and bad, happy and sad, and God is the great weaver. This is the truth, but try telling this to someone who’s suffering. It comes across as a bit hollow. I believe we are too quick to go to Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and avoid ever questioning God.
We must not forget the balance of that text: “who have been called according to His purpose.” In other words, what takes place in this world, good or bad, is for His purpose, not necessarily for our comfort. Besides, most of the time we don’t need to question God, all we need to do is stop and look at the cause of the trouble we face.
“Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on? Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim.” Habakkuk 2:6-7
If you abuse your body with drugs, alcohol, food, or tobacco, don’t be surprised by illness. Don’t be stunned to find yourself single if you cheat on your spouse. Steal from your employer, and you’ll find yourself unemployed. Continue using God’s provision for your own enjoyment, ignoring His principles, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it disappears. Sin, my friends, carries its own price tag.
What do you do when you question God, and you’re still not satisfied? That’s the question that weaves through the Book of Habakkuk!
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 the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
It is not unreasonable to assume that terrible things happen to everybody sooner or later. No one will be exempt. You are going to question God, and that’s okay. The Bible is full of questions tossed at God. He doesn’t mind, in fact, it’s expected. What you don’t want to do is get stuck there. Questions help us understand, but ultimately, we must choose to move past our questions. This requires faith that is solidly built upon trust. When our understanding comes up against an insurmountable obstacle, faith soars above it, grasping unto God.
“….. but the righteous will live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4
Sometimes – answers aren’t enough!
Until next time,