[I decided to re-write Habakkuk for an Advent post this year … seems relevant]
God, how long do we have to cry out for help before you listen?
How many times do we have to point out all the injustice in the world before you finally come to the rescue?
Why do you put all this evil and hardship in front of our faces and force us to stare at the horrors in the news day after day?
Violence is everywhere. People are oppressed wherever you look. Justice is a joke. The rich get richer and the judicial system benefits those oppressing people rather than the other way around.
God, you’re supposed to be omnipotent – all powerful – aren’t you? If you’re so “Holy”, God, you surely wouldn’t subject us to all this suffering would you?
God, you chose THOSE people to rule over us?
The “God-who-is-in-control” gave THEM the job of creating the rules and enforcing them?
You can’t be serious!
Surely you are incapable of allowing such evil laws – such repulsive things to go on in our nation!
So … why don’t you do something about it?
Why aren’t you saying anything? This is outrageous! Godly men and women are being consumed by the evil all around them and you just stand around and watch!
You’re treating men and women like fish in the ocean. We’re all swimming around but not getting anywhere. Then these evil people arrive and go fishing and pull in a good catch of fish. Their nets are full of your people.
Oh, and these people in power are so very happy! They think the ends justify the means and so they worship their methods and decide it will work again and again if they just do the same thing. They praise their horrible deceptions and the ways they’ve fooled good and Godly people and gotten them on their side.
And we believe them and that this is the way to succeed in life, after all, it’s how they got to where they are and they appear very successful.
Are you seriously going to let this go on and on? Will you let your people continue to be caught as if they’re nothing but fish?
So, God, what you say to say to my questions? I’m ready, but not expecting a good answer. I’ll watch to see if you actually do anything. I’ll wait to see what you have to say.
And then God answered:
“Make sure you make a note of this. Put it in your calendar so you don’t forget it because what I am about to tell you is going to tell you what is coming.
You can count on it, but if it seems like it will never arrive, wait a little longer.
Don’t worry, it’s on its way. It will come right on time.
All those people who think so highly of themselves and are bloated by self-importance — they sure appear confident but their souls are empty. In contrast to that the person in right standing with God who is faithful and loyal is actually fully alive — really alive.
All those people who trust that money is the way to happiness and are arrogant because of their wealth — they look successful, but it won’t last. Their hunger for wealth and power is insatiable and can never be satisfied. All they get is the desire for more and more. Don’t give people like this a second thought. Soon the whole world will be taunting them. It won’t be long until the people they have cheated will treat them with the same contempt they have shown for so long. They’ll get a taste of their own medicine and will be paid back for the kingdom they have built on the backs of others.
All those people who are living it up and acting like the top dog who is above it all — they look like nothing bad can touch them, but really they have already started the chain of events that will lead to their downfall. When you don’t look after others, you’ve actually already ruined yourself. You’ve chipped away at the foundations of society and rotted the supporting walls of your own soul. You thought you were “getting ahead”, but when you do so without concern for everyone (even your enemies), everything crumbles.
All those people who take advantage of anyone in order to “get ahead”, don’t you know that God makes sure nothing comes of that but ashes?
Meanwhile the earth is beginning to fill up with awareness of God’s glory just like the waters cover the sea.
What is the point of things that aren’t lasting; things that will disappear as quickly as they first burst on the scene? There’s nothing to these things that is lasting; nothing that brings any real joy, peace, and contentment.
But, I am here! If you’re quiet, you can hear me all around. Stop paying so much attention to the noise and just listen for the still, small voice that has always been there!”
God, we’ve heard what people who have gone before us have said about you; help us to stop and listen.
Do it again God! Do the things among us that you did among them. Work among us as you worked among them. And as you reveal your truth and your eternal ways, remember mercy.
Although everything appears wrong – cherry trees don’t blossom, strawberries don’t ripen, apples are eaten by worms, there is no harvest, and livestock have all run away …
Even though all this is happening in front of our eyes, still we will sing joyful praise to God. We’ve decide to be filled with joy because of God our Saviour.
We are counting on God’s ways to prevail. Even though there may be no evidence to support it, we will gain strength from Him and trust that he will be proved truthful and just in the end.
… and that is what Advent is all about.
[Based off The Message version and NRSV]