How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
Have you ever felt like the prophet Habakkuk? “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!” Habakkuk was writing before the Babylonian exile and all he saw was violence, destruction and misery all around him.
God told Habakkuk to have faith. He told him to write down the vision and wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises. It may seem impossible, but God would bring about something great out of this terrible situation. “The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
This reading is coupled with the Gospel this Sunday from Luke 17:5-10. “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Both readings this Sunday speak to us about the importance of faith. They encourage us to trust in the presence of God, even when times are difficult.
I remember when I was young the big threat to the USA was the USSR, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. It seemed that at some point they might attack and overcome the USA, but they never did. Today we read about ISIS and their terrorist attacks around the world. It seems like there is no end in sight. But God will bring about something good through this terrible situation. Like speaking to Habakkuk, God tells us today to wait for the fulfillment of His promises.
If we look closer to home at our personal situations, I’m sure each one of us can point to situations that seemed impossible. We may be crying out to God like Habakkuk now, “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!” We wonder why God allows these things to happen if He is all good, all knowing and all loving. And He is. His ways are far beyond our ways. His master plan is greater than we can see from our vantage point. He asks us to have faith.
When my mother died in 1998 from lung cancer at the age of 57, I was crying out to God like Habakkuk. Why? This does not make sense to me. It still does not make sense to me why she died so young. At the same time, I have faith that she is with God and that there is nothing more important in this life than to prepare for heaven. I know that her life and died were not in vain. God has and will continue to bring about good things from this sad situation.
Have I cried out to God like Habakkuk?
How strong is my faith in God, especially during difficult times?
Do I trust in the providence of God?
Have a blessed Sunday!