Why do evil things happen? Have you ever asked that question? I’m sure you have. I’m sure most people have. Whether an individual is a believer in Christ or a full-fledged agnostic, people face this question, and the circumstances which prompt it to be asked, every day, of every week, of every month, of every year.
The circumstances may vary. It may be a school shooting at a school in Connecticut, Florida or Kentucky. Or maybe it is an act of violence at an out-door concert in Las Vegas or at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It may be the resulting carnage left by a spring tornado in the Midwest or even in the Deep South. Or perhaps it is the horrific news of a father, or a mother, or a child killing a member, or members, of their family. It also may be due to a devastating diagnosis.
Whatever the circumstances or situation, the resulting wake of searching for the answer as to “why” leaves many people baffled and confused. Liberal politicians and media commentators blame conservatives. Conservative politicians and media commentators blame the liberals. Some believers in Christ accuse others who are dealing with difficulties that it is due to un-confessed sin. And so it goes until tempers cool: at least until the next tragedy occurs.
How are believers in Christ to respond to the reality of the existence of evil? Some pastors promote and promise that you can have your best life now. Try telling that to the Christian who is battling breast cancer and who find themselves with their head in the toilet as they deal not only with cancer itself, but also with the after effects of chemotherapy.
Others, like Christian Scientists, insist that evil doesn’t even exist. Others chalk it up to blind fate. “It was time for you to cash in your chips,” or “Lady Luck decided to no longer smile down on you,” they say. Everyone has questions, many have opinions, but few seem to have any real answers.
Do the Scriptures have any answers? Of course it does. The Bible not only addresses the issue of evil but also provides helpful counsel in dealing with the various tragedies of life and living.
This brings us to the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. Located near the end of the OT, and in the midst of the section known as the Minor Prophets, Habakkuk provides helpful revelation from God regarding the subject of evil. While not a familiar book for many people, it proves to be most thought provoking.
This prophetic book takes its name from its author and possibly means “one who embraces” (1:1; 3:1). By the end of the prophecy, Habakkuk’s name becomes appropriate as the prophet clings to God regardless of his confusion about God’s plans for his people.
Are you one who embraces the One, True God Who has chosen to reveal Himself through the Holy Scriptures? Or, are you an individual who tends to fashion God into your own comfortable construction of what you think God should be?
Reading and studying the Word of God in general, and the Book of Habakkuk in particular, helps believers in Christ to discern and compare what they hear from the culture with the Scriptures. Especially as it pertains to the subject of evil.
As one Christian author explains, “We are told lies every day—from marketing companies, from other people, from Satan, and even from our own flesh (Psalm 5:4). Scripture is the place we go to hear the truth. There we find unadulterated truth. No ulterior motives. No flattery. No sugarcoating. It presents a truthful picture of reality by pulling back the curtain to give us a glimpse of how things really are—and only by knowing how things really are can we endure this life with hope” (Romans 15:13).
I pray that you will covenant with me as we begin our study of the Book of Habakkuk.
May God’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!