A blog by Josh Humbert
There is nothing quite like the humor that God brings in your life through your children. If you’ve had toddlers, you know the sheer hilarity that can ensue. If you haven’t had kids yet, well…consider this your promise:
There are genuine ROFL moments coming your way.
To be sure, the years with little ones have challenges. If you don’t have kids, let me ask you: Do you enjoy sleep now? How about stimulating conversation over a savory dinner? Are you fond of leaving the house in a timely and orderly fashion? Most of that goes a way for a while. Having little ones means incredible life change; some days you just survive.
Perhaps that is why God gives the gift of toddler-comedy in this stage of life. In His good wisdom, He KNOWS that you will need a hearty laugh.
Thus, we get the comedic gold of young kids figuring out the world around them.
Oh…and just wait till they start crying……
A quick Google search of the phrase “Reasons Why My Kid Is Crying” will show you exactly what I’m talking about. You may ask yourself: “what could possibly be funny about a young child crying?” The short answer: LOTS OF STUFF!!
Consider the following pics and captions collected by parents of little ones.
Those are some absolute gems.
My favorite is the kid who asked for butter on his rice and then broke down when his parent did exactly that. Too real, too funny!
But how does this compare with one of the heaviest, weightiest, most intense questions someone ever asks God in Scripture?
Glad you asked….
The prophet Habakkuk comes on the scene in the Old Testament at a bitter, confusing time. There had been a deep, true revival of God’s people under the good king Josiah just a few years ago. A sense of optimism permeated the Israelites; they had been passionately repenting of their sins and following God under Josiah’s leadership…maybe it would continue.
Like a brutal winter that sweeps in long before the harvest has been cultivated, dark times come back to the land. Josiah’s sons are not like their father at all. They are terrible kings that bring terrible times. The hopeful sense of promise is quenched as injustice returns. Wickedness and crooked ways come back. Evil shows up.
Habakkuk sees this dismal turn and he cries out to God, “How long, O Lord, will I call for help? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.”
You might be confused in thinking that Habakkuk is someone who lives in OUR times and is watching OUR news. Surely he must be seeing what we are seeing in our country. Surely Habakkuk isn’t some prophet from hundreds of years ago, because he sounds like he is putting words to OUR newsfeed, right?
So it is that you and I might be asking God the same question: How long, O Lord, will I call out for help? I’m seeing VIOLENCE! My eyes see the brutal collision of law, crime, injustice, outrage, racism, hate, oppression, ignorance, and hate. Why do You make me see this, God? Where are You in this time?
After these opening lines of Habakkuk, God answers. Yet…His answer is completely, absolutely stunning.
God responds to Habakkuk and it arrives like a knockout punch because Habakkuk never would’ve seen this coming. This is the unforeseen uppercut to Habakkuk’s soul.
God basically says: “Habakkuk, you think you’ve seen bad? Get ready. Darker days are even now already approaching. I’ve been raising up the Chaldeans and they will come to your lands with violence and evil in their hearts. Malice. Pain. Mocking. Destruction. Yes, this is what I’m doing and it will be accomplished.”
These verses don’t show up on bumper stickers. There are no Precious Moments dolls for this passage.
Habakkuk cries out in the midst of dark times and God’s answer is “just wait, it’s going to get a lot darker!”
Maybe that’s why the next thing out of Habakkuk’s mouth is possibly the harshest thing ever said to God in the entire Bible.
When Habakkuk hears this heartbreaking reply from God, he says something that no one else in Scripture says to God. It is a pointed, heated, sharp, biting question. It goes like this:
“Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?”
This is a brutal type of rhetorical question he brings before God. Tim Keller summarizes Habakkuk as saying it sort of like this, “I thought You were infinite. You were supposed to be this great God, infinite, wise, everlasting, but You’re not.”
Another commentator, Francis Anderson, says, “There is nothing like it anywhere in the Bible. God is not being approached with courtesy and respect. Habakkuk is in absolute anguish.”
This type of response is as real and as honest as it gets. It is also why Habakkuk is right. And also why he is wrong.
What is right about Habakkuk’s response? One thing: he is still praying to God.
You see that right? He says “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?” In spite of the painful, unexpected reply from God, in spite of it all…he still prays TO God. He acknowledges Him as Lord, the Holy One.
In times of greatest pain, some people want to forget God and maybe even deny He exists. They would cease to pray or never even pray to God at all. Others might want to have honest prayer with God but they fear offending Him or bringing their hearts before Him in an authentic way. They would pray but only sanitized prayers; mere words but not the cry of a broken heart.
Habakkuk doesn’t make either of those errors. He is right in that he is still praying to God. He brings it ALL before Him.
So, how can he be wrong?
Because he’s a crying toddler. That’s why Habakkuk is so wrong.
God IS from Everlasting. God IS in control. God IS watching. God IS wise. God IS still saving.
Perhaps that’s why verse 5 holds the key to the whole exchange. In God’s first reply, He even straight up tells Habakkuk this: “Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days – You would not believe it if you were told.”
God tells him from the beginning “Look, you want to know My plans? I’ll tell you but you cannot comprehend it all. You won’t even believe what I’m up too.”
Imagine being the parent of the toddler who wanted to crawl into the 400 degree oven. Imagine being the parent of the toddler who wanted to stick his pacifier in the wall socket. Imagine being the parent of the toddler who wanted to drink toilet bowl cleaner.
Do you think those little ones could possibly understand your parental wisdom in keeping them from those things? Can you talk logically with a one-year old? Can they grasp the truth of what’s happening? Of course not! That’s partly why it’s so hilarious to see what they come up with!!
They don’t get it yet!
This is why Habakkuk is wrong, and so are we. God is the Everlasting God. He has plans, He WILL accomplish good purposes, He will be consistent with His character, He will keep His promises. He is our Great, Loving, Saving Father.
He can be trusted, this we can know for sure.
This intense conversation between Habakkuk and God points us to Calvary. There, on the cross, Jesus replies to all our questions and doubts. There, broken and bleeding out innocent blood, Jesus answers all our deep pain and fears.
He was doubted, even in those moments. Couldn’t He save Himself from all this? Couldn’t He just call down angels to rescue? ARE YOU NOT GOD’S SON? Are You not from everlasting?
Jesus didn’t just SEE the sinfulness of man, He chose to bear it on His body. Jesus didn’t just see the law broken relentlessly, He chose to stand in for the law-breakers. Jesus didn’t just see injustice happening, He came to feel it Himself.
God Himself dies for us. Instead of a knockout punch that we surely deserve, this is MERCY arriving to save us from the hell we deserve.
At the time Jesus was most doubted, He was also most assuredly accomplishing the best thing in the universe. Looking back now, we see that the “Are You Not” moment on the Cross was actually an “Oh Yes, You Did!” victory for the glory of God and the hope of sinful man.
So it is with God. We are like toddlers doubting the wisdom of our parents when it comes to God. Actually………no, we aren’t even that. We’re worse.
Habakkuk is a fascinating portion of Scripture and I hope I’ve maybe given you enough of an appetizer that you go read and study it further. We’ve only scratched the surface here. To close, may I submit what I think Habakkuk might say to us now, if he could? Perhaps it would go like this:
Who can know the mind of God? Who can see what He sees? Who can fathom all the intricacies and beauty of His marvelous plans?
Do we dare to think that the sum total of all that we see happening around us in this present moment is enough to render a final verdict on the goodness and greatness of God? May it never be! God is eternal, powerful, good, kind, loving, and He is true to His promises. He is worthy of Your trust. Look to the Cross! Look to the empty tomb! He is on the move even still.
It is ok to lament. It is ok to mourn. It is ok to not be satisfied with the world around us. And it is ok to pour out your heart before God.
But it is good to doubt your doubts. It is good to remind yourself of the Gospel. It is good to not live by feelings but by faith. It is good to trust in God.
He is the Rock. The Mighty Fortress. The Holy One. He is God alone.
Thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more content? Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.
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