My wife turns the news on every morning; she is silly that way. And since she wakes up before me, this means I crawl out of bed each morning to hear some anchor or another bemoaning the latest war, squabble, protest, shooting, or disease. The morning shower drowns out the bad news momentarily, but once I turn the water off and step back into a dry reality, there is that voice again continuing on about wars, squabbles, protests, shootings, and diseases–the world is dizzy for all its maddened spinning.
And so on my drive to work, to the sound of peaceful music, I reflect on the news. Typically, this reflection leaves me with one not-so-simple word: “Why?”
Why are we killing one another? Why all this hate? Why is sin ignored? Why is God neglected? Why don’t we do anything about it? Why won’t it stop?
And then amid this barrage of inquisition comes the scariest “why” of all–Why are you letting this happen, God?
And just like that, all because of some teleprompter-reading news anchor, I’m left doubting my Creator and the way in which He rules the world.
To be honest, I used to have a real problem with this. This sort of “doubt” left my faith spiraling and spinning, much like the maddened world itself. But then I read of Thomas after Jesus died. Poor Thomas was really shaken up. Why did you let this happen to Jesus, God? I’m sure his thoughts went. And since dead meant dead, he did not–could not–believe the other disciples when they claimed Jesus had returned to the living world.
But then, at the height of Thomas’s doubt, Jesus showed up. He stood face to face with Thomas, then, in a moment that was surely unforgettable and could have been laced with stirring Lifetime Network background music, Jesus took Thomas’s hand and put it where the nails and spear had pierced Him.
The cure for Thomas’s doubt was not an answer but the answer; the cure was Jesus, Himself.
There are times when the “why’s” will go unanswered. Circumstances will continually be beyond our grasp, as pain is a staple of this present, sinful world. But the truth is that we, as people of faith, need to delve beyond the “why’s” and content ourselves with the all-important “Who.”
In Habakkuk, the prophet is following the news. He sees evil prevailing and poverty all around him. He utters his miffed “why’s” to the heavens and he is answered with a reminder of “who” is at the helm, and equally important, who is not. We are not in charge nor will we understand all the topsy-turvy goings-on of this world. The only faithful response is given: The righteous will live by faith . . . not by answers to every question.
I still don’t like the news. This world, after all, can be a very sad place. But as I find myself in Habakkuk’s shoes, I find a God who answers my doubt-filled why’s with the very essence of who He is: Truly, the only worthy answer to cure the ills and make all things new.