In our series exploring the big questions of life using question words (‘Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?), we reached probably one of the biggest questions of all today: ‘Why, God?!’ So often, we don’t understand what happens in life and ask questions such as ‘Why does God allow suffering? Why doesn’t He step in to sort out injustice? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do the wicked seem to flourish?’ We often conclude that either God is loving but impotent (He can’t do anything about evil) or that He is powerful but indifferent (He could do something, but doesn’t care enough to do anything.) Either conclusion is wrong and will lead to resentment, anger and bitterness and will erode our faith.
The question as to why God works the way He does may never be fully answered in this life, but in Psalm 73 and the book of Habakkuk, we see these questions asked honestly and openly before God and learn something of His ways through His answers. The psalmist questions if there’s any point to living a righteous life when the wicked seem to flourish and get away with ignoring God (Ps 73:2-12); Habakkuk asks why God tolerates wrongdoing and how long this must go on for. (Hab 1:1-4)
God’s ways cannot be understood from the perspective of time; we must look further into eternity to understand fully. Only when Asaph entered God’s sanctuary did he begin to see that the wicked will indeed get their just ‘reward’ (Ps 73:17-27); Habakkuk, far from reassured by God’s answer that He could use even the evil Babylonians to achieve His purposes, sees that he must wait for God’s revelation to come. (Hab 2:1-4) Waiting for God’s justice to prevail and for righteousness to dawn like the noonday sun (Ps 37:6) is not easy for us to accept as the answer to our ‘Why?’ questions. We want answers now and we want justice and righteousness to be seen in our dilemmas right now, but the truth is that in a fallen world, where sin has tainted everything, we have to learn to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7) Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts, and both Asaph and Habakkuk ultimately found satisfaction in God Himself, even when they wrestled with doubt and uncertainty. (Ps 73:25-26, Hab 3:16-19)