Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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. (Hab 1.2)

Today’s passage is Habakkuk 2.1-4, but to make sense of it, it’s worth looking back at chapter 1.

In chapter 1 the prophet’s cry is one that we often hear today: how can you let this happen, God? We see destruction and violence and wickedness all around – where are you, Lord? The law is ignored and justice is perverted – how can you let this continue?

At the beginning of chapter 2 we have an answer, of a sort. What do you think of the Lord’s reply?

When I read these words I’m reminded that so often the Lord’s reply to me is the same: trust me. ‘Things are moving, I’m not delaying or lying to you… trust me.’ Verse 4 contains those famous words “the righteous (one) will live by his faith”, and what strikes me is how true this is. We do live by faith, and in faith, that the Lord is coming, that he will put things to right. Though the world is often dark and violent and God is invisible, often mysterious, and frequently elusive in his replies to important questions, we have to trust him… the alternative is to put our faith in empty, powerless idols (look ahead to Hab 2.18-20).  We don’t build statues today, but we’re good at putting our trust in money, or politics, a job, or even our family. But let’s make that choice to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…” (Heb 12.2)

One of the books that’s been most helpful to me on the question of faith is Philip Yancey‘s ‘Reaching for the Invisible God‘ (you can read Chapter 3: Room for Doubt and Chapter 4: Faith Under Fire online for free), his personal and insightful exploration of the challenges of relating to – and trusting in – an invisible God. I also highly recommend John Ortberg’s ‘Faith and Doubt‘, which is one of the wisest books I’ve read on this – or any – topic.

If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Hab 2.3)


Read Full Post »

According to Niebuhr, virtually all of us, at least subconsciously, believe that our existence is worthwhile and that the whole world of being is meaningful. He writes, “There is in the background of existence, whether as memory of childhood, or as Platonic recollection of something heard in another existence, or as the echo of an inner voice, the sense of something glorious, splendid, clean and joyous for which this being and all being is intended.” But in the normal course of life this fundamental faith is interrupted by “the great disillusionment,” whether “in childhood or adolescence or later.” A tragic chord is heard, a chord that reverberates through literature, art and philosophy, which Niebuhr describes as the discovery “that things are not what they seem and that what they are is infinitely sadder, darker and more disappointing than what they appear to be…” This, he claims, is a constant in human experience. …

But it is important, Niebuhr insists, to understand that both fundamental faith and disillusionment do justice to reality. …

Kelton Cobb, The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture, 2005 (p.13), quoting H. Richard Niebuhr in Faith on Earth: An Inquiry into the Structure of Human Faith, 1989

Read Full Post »