God’s vision will not tarry
by Vernon S. Broyles III | Presbyterians Today
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? … Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous; therefore judgment comes forth perverted. … Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing; why do you look on the treacherous and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they? — Habakkuk 1:2–4; 13
Evidence that we live in a broken world is all around. While some can accept this as simple reality and that we should just “get over it and muddle along the best we can,” others cannot. They are the ones deeply troubled by societal dysfunction and either try to work around it or, for the most ambitious, engage with full energy to ameliorate the impact of the dysfunction and address its causes.
If you are a person of faith who believes that there is a God of love and compassion — a God who “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” — then you may struggle as well to understand why God permits so much hatred, mayhem, warfare, untruth and persecution in the world. Habakkuk did. He struggled as he observed the impact of evil upon God’s “chosen ones,” and he vowed to stand at his watch post and station himself on the rampart, keeping watch to see how God would answer his complaints as to what was happening in the world. And sure enough, the Lord answered and said, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2–3).
We live in troubled times, as have every generation of those who dared to believe in the reality and presence of a God who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Not all have had the travail of observing daily the systematic murder of thousands of men, women and children of Ukraine at the hands of an egotistical demagogue, or the ravages of a Hitler determined to erase every Jew from the Earth. Still, every human community that has existed has been torn by those who were driven by the will to power and who have swept away those perceived as hindrances to their ambitions.
As believers in the Creator God known to us in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and, as followers of Jesus the Christ, in whom we have been reborn, redeemed and given God’s promise of new life, let us station ourselves on the ramparts, addressing the challenges around us, confident of God’s victory over evil in all its forms — and confident of God’s vision to be revealed.
Vernon S. Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly.
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Categories: Presbyterians Today
Tags: dysfunction, evil, Habakkuk 1, Habakkuk 2, hatred, persecution, war
Tags: broyles, broyles iii, evil, god, god's vision, habakkuk, iii, live, look, lord, reality, righteous, see, tarry, vernon, vernon s, vision, wicked, world, wrongdoing
Ministries: Presbyterians Today