How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Habakkuk 1:2-3a NASB
You make me see – James Bond. Yup, that’s right. James Bond introduced the general public to depleted uranium shells in one of his movies. Actually, the science is rather intriguing, if you care about these sorts of things. I’m pretty sure (almost certain—ha!) that Habakkuk was not thinking about tank-busting when he cried out in despair, but depleted uranium might be an appropriate modern-day paraphrase. Just like the shell that strikes the tank, witnessing the extent and depth of evil in this world is more than enough to vaporize our resolve and destroy our hopes.
I’m feeling depleted these days. Too much to do. Too many places to get to. And all the while, evil staring me in the face. When one scene after another confronts me, I am vaporized. Oh, I know God is there—somewhere. But it sure feels like I’m wandering the earth alone. Yes, I know you’re with me, but that just makes both of us alone together. And depleted. Habakkuk was right. “Where are you, God?” “Why do you make me see all this wickedness—in me and in the world?” I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep—pretend things will be better in the morning.
That makes me turn in other directions. The first is to God in the stillness of morning, when the light just starts to overcome that long dark night. I catch a glimpse of Him painting colors on the air. Like this:
Then I notice that we appreciate what God does in miniature as well. Like this:
Color makes me joyful in a world where black often overcomes white.
Finally, I think of sanctuary. Yes, I know there’s plenty of synchronism in these places, but I’m looking past all that Roman culture. I want to be in a place where I feel calm and safe. If I get there early, when there are no people disturbing the silence, and I just notice that men are also capable of creating great beauty, then maybe a sanctuary is really a sanctuary from the world, as it should be. As I need it to be this day when I hear myself crying, “How long?”
Topical Index: sanctuary, Habakkuk 1:2-3a, evil