“The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and You will not hear? Or cry to You ‘Violence!’ and You will not save? Why do You make me see iniquity, and why do You idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. … I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the LORD answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.'”(Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 ESV)
The prophet Habakkuk says exactly the kinds of things I would like to say to God. He’s upset with God; he sees that the world around him is filled with violence and evil, and he wants to know why God isn’t doing anything. Habakkuk has been praying and crying out to God for help, but it looks like nothing’s happening. Evil is winning, and God is silent.
Faced with that situation, many people lose their faith. But Habakkuk does something different. He’s going to set himself up like a man on a watchtower and look out toward the horizon, to see if God’s answer is on the way. Deep down inside, angry or not, Habakkuk still trusts that God is going to hear him.
And God does hear him! An answer is coming—an answer to all this evil. It may seem slow, but God is sending help. And in the meantime, Habakkuk will be waiting and trusting.
What answer did God send? He sent an answer nobody could have predicted—He came Himself, as a tiny human baby, born into our world to save us. Who could expect such a weak person to win the war against evil? And yet He did—not the way we might have expected, through force, but instead through His own suffering, death, and resurrection. The writer of Hebrews explains why Jesus took on our flesh and blood: “that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14b-15).
Now, when we grieve over the violence and evil in our world, we have this comfort—that God has seen our distress and has answered us. The evils of this world will have a complete end when Jesus returns in glory. He has already won the war. And so we wait for Him with hope and trust.
Prayer: Dear Lord, come quickly and bring us Your peace, blessing, and goodness. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on September 27, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Give an example of an evil that causes you to cry out to God for help.
2. How do you find help in God when you suffer?
3. When has God worked through you to help someone else suffering?