I've written before about living in Greece and how I encountered the refugee crisis firsthand. I met people whose family members had been killed or drowned, saw horrible suffering and grief up close, and witnessed how evil humans can be to one another. I was talking to a Greek friend of mine once about the crisis, and she said to me, "I know you are close to God. Why do you think He allows this?" I remember driving away from the border on certain nights feeling such heaviness and wondering if there was a clear answer to these issues.
Thousands of years ago, Habakkuk dealt with those same questions. He saw injustice happening all around him in Israel and evil going unpunished, and asked God, "why are you idle?" God's response was not what Habakkuk wanted to hear. He told Habakkuk that He was preparing to bring judgment upon Israel by allowing the Babylonians to take them captive.
Can you imagine asking God, "why do you allow injustice?" And him responding, "Actually, I am about to use a dictatorship to bring judgment on your country." Habakkuk discovered that God's justice would come, but it would not be in the way he wanted. God will bring about justice on earth, but it may not be in the way we expect or the timing that we prefer.
God went on to tell Habakkuk that one day, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has and is making all things new. He will fill the earth with His glory. And he invites us to join with Him in seeking His kingdom and accomplishing His mission on earth. We are called by God to bring Him glory through making Him known and working to bring His kingdom on earth. A big part of that is working for justice on the earth.
We can be encouraged knowing that God's aim will be accomplished. The earth will be filled with His glory. He will bring justice and renew all things.
And no matter what suffering or hardships we are encountering, we can hope in God. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says,
All of the things mentioned in these verses describe what would have been Habakkuk and his community's livelihood. They were farmers, shepherds and harvesters. He's saying, even if all I have is taken from me, even if I have nothing to live on or no hope for the future, I will rejoice in God. I get more of God.
Even if everything is going wrong and it may seem as if there is no justice or hope in sight, we can rejoice in God. We can put our faith in Him and press into Him, knowing that He is good and that He will bring justice.