Summary: Tragedy is often difficult to cope with, hard to understand, hard to explain, and it’s hard on our faith. Tragedy often causes people to lay the blame for these events on God. This will often cause these people to become bitter and cynical toward Him. Of
When God Can’t Be Explained
Introduction: As we look back over the last several years, we see recent history dotted with some very tragic events. Middle Eastern terrorists have made a number of attacks against America in various ways - their crowning achievement, of course, being 9/11. The tsunami that wiped out vast portions of Southern Asia. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked major devastation along our Gulf Coast. Lots of death, physical hurt and pain, property damage, and financial woes related to these and so many other tragedies that have befallen us.
Tragedy is often difficult to cope with, hard to understand, hard to explain, and it’s hard on our faith. Tragedy often causes people to lay the blame for these events on God. This will often cause these people to become bitter and cynical toward Him. Oftentimes, people cry out to God for some kind of explanation but get nothing but silence in return. They will ask for some kind of understanding and yet God seems to leave them baffled.
We must come to understand that life is, indeed, a mystery. Much of what happens in life is simply beyond us. We do not understand why some people have cancer; why some people are involved in tragic accidents; why some people suffer premature heart attacks; why some people live in constant pain, while others live relatively trouble free lives. And, you know, even if it were explained to us, we probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the answer. We long for sensibility. We seek explanation. We are desperate for reason.
There is a fundamental truth that is inherent throughout all of scripture: God never explains Himself. He rarely gives reasons. The events that unfold in our world seldom make sense. We, therefore, are confronted with and must learn to live by the very basic tenant of Christianity: "The righteous live by faith."
We speak a great deal about faith; but, do we really have a clear understanding of what faith is? When asked what faith is, some will immediately quote Hebrews 11:1 - "faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." (11:1). Webster’s dictionary defines faith as "the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority." A true understanding of faith is based upon one’s understanding of God. If we do not believe God is almighty, all-powerful, all wise, all knowing, we cannot rest our faith completely in Him. Personal faith is based upon our understanding of God and our willingness to place our complete trust in Him.
Let’s consider what Habakkuk had to say about this idea of faith and the very basic tenant of Christianity - the righteous living by this faith.
Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:4, 3:17-19
What is it Habakkuk is trying to teach us here? He is laying out the framework for:
1. An Expression of Faith
A. Habakkuk penned what is perhaps the greatest expression of undaunted faith in the Scriptures.
1. Most prophets spoke to the people for God, but Habakkuk spoke to God for the people.
2. He lived in very difficult times - times that were hard on faith.