Spring sure seems to be taking its sweet time in arriving this year. We are entering May, yet temperatures are still hovering in the 50-degree range, and as I write this in late April, it is barely above freezing. Mocking clouds continually threaten rain, and trees are still debating whether it is safe to green and bud. No matter how it may feel, we recognize that the seasons do eventually change, and this spring is no exception. The change may come slowly, but—just wait—it will most assuredly come. Habakkuk was a prophet to ancient Judah, the remnant of Israel. The Old Testament book that bears his name is an account of Habakkuk’s frustration with the injustice he observed around him, as the nation’s leaders were corrupt and ungodly, and even the religious leaders, who should have been the conscience of God’s people, were leading them into the same wicked worldview and practices of the unbelieving world around them.Habakkuk brought his lament to God. “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?”And again, “Why do you make me look on injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?” (See Habakkuk 1:2,3.) The prophet had had enough, and he wanted God to intervene and fix it. Don’t we often feel just that way? This world is so messed up, so unjust and broken, that (whether we say it aloud our not) our hearts cry out, “Enough already! God, where are you? Why don’t you fix this?” Even if we don’t express it quite that way, this is the sentiment behind all the anger we often feel about news, politics, and current events. It’s the frustration and disgust we feel when we see evil promoted as good and good treated as evil. “How long, Lord?”The Lord answered Habakkuk, but the prophet could not believe God’s response. The Lord intended to use the evils of an even more wicked nation to punish and purge His own people. He did just that, and Babylon carried Judah into exile for 70 years. In the meantime, those who longed to see the wrong fail and the right prevail wondered if it would ever happen. The Lord’s response to and through Habakkuk assured His people that God was neither absent nor tardy. “Then the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.’”Habakkuk 2:2-3 NIVPeter assured first-century Christians who began to doubt Christ’s second advent in a similar way.“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”2 Peter 3:8-9 NIVSometimes it seems as if God is not even listening—like He simply tolerates wrongdoing. Rest assured, dear friends, that as surely as seasons change, God will judge sin and set all things right. In the meantime, what may appear to be absence, negligence, or impotence is nothing other than God’s patience and grace in allowing the full number of those who will receive Christ to be brought in.
May the frustration of living in this cursed and fallen world fuel our passion for proclaiming the Good News that Jesus saves those who place their hope in Him!