Difficult Silence

I confess to being a fan of 90’s country music. With that said, I will be quick to warn against taking theology lessons from the lyrics from any country song, even though they may have a hint of truth in them. For example, Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks does reflect the truth that certain circumstances turn out better if God doesn’t give us what we are asking for. As he says, “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” But, as with most country songs, this is a simplistic way to look at life, because many times our “unanswered prayers” are the things that continue to bring heartache to our lives. The cancer wasn’t healed. The spouse didn’t want to reconcile. Your child wouldn’t heed your warning. The business never recovered. Justice is still distant. As I am sure you can agree, life doesn’t always fit into a country song.

The prophet Habakkuk was in the middle of one of these trying times. The nation of Judah was supposed to be God’s covenant people yet they acted more like the pagan nations around them. Idolatry was common, God’s law was ignored, and injustice seemed to rule the day. In the midst of this culture, Habakkuk questioned why God was silent. 

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.”
(Habakkuk 1:2-4)

If we are honest, most of us can relate to this type of prayer. God seems to be silent, so we ask “How long shall I cry for help?” Or we question where God is when violence and injustice go forth without consequence. The righteous are crying out, yet God seems silent. 

Have you walked through times like this but didn’t feel you could cry out to God like Habakkuk does? If so, take some time to express your pain, confusion, and doubt to God. He understands that life doesn’t conform to a country song and that our prayers aren’t always neat enough to make the church prayer list. But He does know your pain and is ready to listen. Take the time to approach Him today.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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