New International Version (NIV)
1 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer
5 “Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
How many today feel as Habakuk feels? There is violence, injustice, strife, conflict…Habakuk cries that conflict abounds. Isn’t that how it feels in 2017 when one turns on a television or computer to see the local, national, or international news? Truth is, the world has been in a state of conflict since the Fall, and although we are academically aware of this fact, we are sometimes insulated and distracted from the reality of it’s true effect. When the reality stirs emotions, people lash out online and in the streets, but it appears with Habakuk’s lament, this human behavior is nothing new.
So, how to respond?
Remember that God is in control. Not only is He in control, but “watch-and be utterly amazed” vs.5 We have read throughout the Bible, accounts of distressing circumstances that God used for His glory, and the good of HIs people. We generally accept that, when the Israelites, or various individuals we study, react in ways that seem shallow or faithless, they behaved in such a way because they did not know the whole story or “the big picture”. We have the benefit of the entirety of the scripture to give us the full story. We get to see that Jesus is resurrected, and God’s plan of salvation is complete! But, how does this impact our daily lives in 2017? It is a very real challenge to remain hopeful in light of current events, but that is the challenge that Satan hopes we will allow to distract us from God’s purpose. Knowing this, we must be increasingly mindful of our response - individually and collectively- so that we are a reflection of Jesus to a broken, hurting world.
One of the ways that we choose to respond to those who are hurting is through Jochebed’s Hope. In our experiences so far, we have been touched by the humanity, the similarities, and the warmth that has greeted us when we visit people who live on the opposite side of the world from where we live. The process of ministering overseas is not without it’s challenges, but it is the focus on meeting the needs of the poor and oppressed that propels everyone involved. God knows this about humans. When we stop focusing on our own problems, and get involved in meeting the needs of others, we are blessed in ways that we could not imagine. Let us allow God’s love to infuse our hearts so we will not be discouraged and distracted by the world. Let us “watch and be utterly amazed”. Let us join hands and serve together, to be a part of God’s amazing story among the nations.