“God!!! How long will I call for help and feel like you’re ignoring me?!?
I keep telling you, ‘VIOLENCE! THERE’S VIOLENCE AND CHAOS EVERYWHERE!!!’
Yet, You do not stop it…
Why do You make me see such horrid things everywhere I look? It’s everywhere!
Destruction and violence are all around me.
Strife and contention are rising.
The law is ignored and justice is never upheld.
The evil surround those who would do good, the righteous… and because of this, justice is continually perverted.”
No, this isn’t the typical thing to wake up to on Christmas. In fact, I’d be sort of surprised if you’re reading this on Christmas. But you know what, that’s what Christmas is all about.
The above is a paraphrase of the first few verses from the prophet, Habakkuk. I doubt that any would disagree with the sentiments. This world often feels like it’s run by the wicked.
In chapter two we hear God’s reply to the desperate man. God assures him that the wicked will bring about their own demise. That their plans will always turn on them.
And in the end of it, the prophet states plainly;
“But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”
The rest of His account is an amazing and humble prayer of surrender to the ways of the Almighty. A surrender that few of us have the courage to take. It’s a song of praise to the God that seems so bizarre and frightening sometimes, whose ways can seem so off in our mindset. But the books ends with the deepest prayer of surrender that a man can make…
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, and there may be no fruit on the vines… even if all our hard work to grow food should fail…
Even if our livestock is lost and our stalls and cupboards are empty…
Yet, I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like the strong back legs of a beast… He makes me to climb to high places.”
This declaration of surrender can save our lives.
You see, things are simply not as they should be. Read the scriptures, you’ll find that God frequently laments the state of our world. He never intended for death and disease to rule over us. Creation truly does groan for the coming of our Lord. That’s why sing out to the Father to come, come Immanuel, God with us. Ransom us, captive to death, hatred, sickness and violence. Rescue us who are held captive to this sick and sad world!
But as the prophet said, the Lord surely is in His temple. Meaning: He sees and knows, and has a plan.
Keep silent, be still, and let Him whisper His assurance to you, that you, yes, even you, may be part of the answer along side of Him.
I give you an old hymn to dwell on this Christmas day.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!