In the book of Habakkuk, the prophet struggles to understand God’s goodness in the midst of violence, injustice and judgement. Habakkuk was distressed and ultimately questioned God’s methods. How could God remain silent and allow evildoers to go on unpunished? Although written thousands of years ago, many Christians today find themselves in the same quandary of how to remain faithful and trust God during these trying times.
Many metropolitan cities are plagued with violence, impoverished neighborhoods, corruption, racism and intolerance of those different from us. The news, social media and our negative experiences with unspeakable encounters provide a daily dose of the ugliness that takes place in our cities. Division and intolerance can still be seen in our churches, the criminal justice system, the education system and corporate America.
As Christians, we press on to find our purpose and contribute to our community through various principles such as discipleship, worship and fellowship. In prayer, the phrase “God’s will be done” is often recited, yet when our tireless efforts appear not to produce fruit we begin to question God. Many Christians strive to hear God–to achieve the ability to hear a word from God–but what do Christians do when God is silent? God’s word is the same today as it was yesterday. God replied to Habakkuk, “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 (Hab. 2:2-3).”
We must not forget that God has an appointed time for everything. As Christians, we must continue to do God’s work despite what we do not see. We cannot allow a society that promotes individualism and ego over community to define what it means to serve our community. Many Christians perish under the illusion that as humans we control our destiny and what we do not have is a direct result of laziness or lack of effort. Christians have become so consumed with their wants and desires that we have resorted to giving God a deadline. We want our prayers and requests answered within our self-imposed timeline and struggle when that timeline has expired with no results.
God’s reply to Habakkuk continued: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith (Hab. 2:4).” When God is silent, we must be diligent and trust that his perfect timing will prevail.