Hope in the Dark

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Read Text (Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4)
Habakkuk 1:1–4 ESV
The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
Habakkuk 2:1–4 ESV
I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Praise God! … God is good…
These are the words we proclaim when good things happen to us.
Job promotion
Random bill was paid for you
A healthy baby is born
the crops yield a good return
The cancer you’ve been battling is cured
But what happens when the good things do not happen?
You get demoted at work
The bills keep piling up and you can’t pay them
The crops are destroyed leaving you without a chance at breaking even
The cancer you have is not curable and the doctors say all they can do is prolong the inevitable
A bus crash takes the life of 16 people and injured 13, leaving parents and loved ones devastated
Is God still good?
My sister-in-law Diana suffers from Trigeminal Neuralgia which is a debilitating disease in the face. It is a chronic pain condition that affects the facial nerves, which carry sensation from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face — such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup, any amount of noise — may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain. The pain gets so bad that the only relief she can get is to be in a silent room alone, with it completely dark. It is a rare disease and most women who have it are over 50 years old. Diana is 23 and has had TN since she was 16. She has had multiple surgeries to help manage the pain and currently there is no cure for it.
She spends a lot of days in darkness.
Transition: When bad things happen… when we see injustice in our world and in our lives. When it seems like dark, evil things are happening around us, we aren’t so quick to say God is good, but we ask God “why” like Habakkuk.
We wonder, “Where is the Hope in the Dark?

The Why’s of Habakkuk’s day and the why’s of our day

Habakkuk wondered where the hope in the dark was.
He cried out to God “How long shall I cry for help and you will not here? Why do you make me see iniquity? Why do you idly look at wrong?” (Hab. 1:2-3)
You see corruption was happening in Judah during Habakkuk’s time and there was injustice all around.
The Assyrians were currently ruling over Judah, there was corruption in the leadership of the Jewish people and the judicial process was unfair and evil in Judah.
There was violence all around and sin filled the city and Habakkuk cried out to God and asked the question “Why aren’t you doing anything about it God?”
You are the God from everlasting, you are too pure to see evil, you are the all powerful creator of all things! Why are you not doing anything? Why are you letting this happen?
Where is the hope in this darkness?
Have you been there?
Have you cried out why to God, wondering how he could let this tragedy happen, or let this disease take over your life?
Diana has cried to God, “Why do I have this disease? Why do I have to suffer? Why won’t you take this suffering away from me? How long O Lord shall I cry for help?
You may have had this thought, “I thought God is good, why am I not seeing His goodness?”
I mean in Romans it says:
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
So why am I not seeing the good?
Why are people being shot in a massacre at a synagogue?
Why is the cancer spreading and not curable?
Why did all those young people die in the Humboldt bus tragedy?
Why does my sister-in-law have to live with a debilitating disease with no cure?
Why don’t I see you working all things together for good God? I love you!
Habakkuk wrestled with the same question. He isn’t seeing God at work and doesn’t understand why.
God should be doing something because He is the almighty God who works all things together for good.
The problem is when we read that verse in Romans we are reading it out of context with ourselves in mind. We expect God to bring us good things and that because we love Him, nothing bad can happen to us.
You see Paul wrote that in the midst of suffering and pain… in the middle of injustice.
He saw God’s big picture, the future glory that awaits us all.
He saw the hope in the dark.
Transition: So if all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, where is the hope in the dark?

The Lord’s response

After all the injustice Habakkuk was facing and seeing, the Lord responded:
Habakkuk 2:1–4 ESV
I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
The vision calls Habakkuk to view God's work and purposes in the world not only in its breadth but in its length as well.
At the same time this is an assurance (a hope) that God's purposes in the world will certainly unfold, so much so that Habakkuk can write it down for future reference, it also implies that it may be some time in coming (if it seems slow, wait for it).
Habakkuk had wanted God to act in some decisive way in the world to relieve the injustice he saw. God's answer is “I am… trust me, it will surely come."
This vision from God is a proclamation, a promise to be fulfilled.
He is speaking to Habakkuk and the people to live by faith.
To trust in who God is and what He has promised.
That the vision waits its appointed time and it will surely come.
The people were led into exile by the Babylonians, which God raised up to do. But yet, they were able, by God’s working behind the scenes, to return from exile back to the land they were promised.
But even more than that, God worked in the background and fulfilled this vision through His Son Christ.
The real issue of death and complete separation from God is fulfilled in Christ.
Through the cross… through His resurrection… and by His return, when he will put an end to all the injustice and gather all God’s children to him in complete joy, peace, and holiness.
So where is the Hope in the Dark?
God says, it will surely come, if it seems slow, wait for it.
God has promised us rescue, and redemption through His Son Jesus.
His promises hold true. He is always faithful. We may not understand the why or the how long… but God is still good and is always in control. He calls us to have faith… to live by faith… not just during the good times but through the dark times as well.
God certainly has the power to do everything that he has promised.
His creation of the world and his resurrection from the dead are unprecedented displays of his power.
The Lord’s perspective is far superior to ours.
While my decisions are limited by past and present experiences and best guesses about the future, God sees all of history, past, present and the future all at once.
He can truly know what is best for me not only for today, but also for tomorrow and for eternity.
The Lord’s record of faithfulness is one that is truly unparalleled.
Even when it looks highly improbable that the Lord can carry through on what he has promised he still always comes through. Not in ways that we can understand or in ways that we would always want, but God knows infinitely more than we could.
Just ask the nation of Israel who stood at the edge of the Red Sea as an angry Egyptian army was quickly closing in on them, and it appeared that God’s people were about to be obliterated.
Or think of the disciples who saw Jesus’ lifeless body taken from the cross and placed in a grave where people normally did not come back to life.
The Lord’s promises of rescue and resurrection may have seemed highly unlikely to those people.
Yet, the Lord did exactly as he had promised, parting the waters of the Red Sea and raising Jesus to life.
The Lord is honest with us.
He doesn’t ignore the realities of our world or sugar-coat them.
He does not belittle the suffering, the sadness, the heartache that enters our lives.
Instead, he tells us that he will safely bring us through them and at his perfect time deliver us from them completely.
It always goes back to the cross – to the greatest demonstration of love that you have ever experienced.
It is there that God took stubborn and rebellious sinners, people who have defiantly questioned his wisdom and his ways, doubted his timing and his plans, and blindly followed the ways of the devil, foolishly thinking that they were our own – yes, God took us and at the cross he made us not merely friends, but children of his family.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus went through the greatest injustice of all. He was rejected by His own people, He was mocked, belittled, beaten, and crucified.
If anyone knows injustice… it’s God.
Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!”
Christ went through the dark and rose victoriously to light.
He went through the dark so you don’t have to do it alone.
Romans 1:17 ESV
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Diana in the dark, with her disease, lives by faith…
She trusts God’s promises are true.
Though it lingers… she waits for it… because it will surely come...
And she knows in the dark… she has hope… she has Christ!
She told me one day: “Although I wish I didn’t have this disease, God is with me and working His purposes through me and this disease. I have shared Christ and His salvation with many people who haven’t heard the Gospel. And all this was possible because of Trigeminal Neuralgia. God is good! Christ is with me in the dark… He is my light in it…”
Brothers and sisters, We have hope in the dark!
Through the tragedies, through the sufferings, we have hope… we live by faith because God’s promises hold true and by His Grace we are His justified, redeemed children.
“Yet in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay and my righteous ones will live by faith.” (Heb. 10:37-38 NLT)
We have hope in the dark because We have Jesus Christ!
Who has come and will come again!
God is good… Praise God!
Let us pray…
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