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Where are you God?

Hope in the Darkness  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Beleiving that God is good, when life is not

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Where are you God?

Intro:
I
Illustration
Our miscarriage:
About a year ago, Brittni and I began to pray and ask God if we were to have another baby.
This spurred us on to try and in the middle of April Brittni had a positive test!
We were overjoyed!
This was an answer to prayer!
We asked for an answer of should we and God had delivered or so we thought.
For about a month we were so excited, and we began to tell family, and close friends.
Many of you know the Wingo’s and we have a very close relationship with them and they were also pregant at the same time.
Both kids would have been born around the same time.
It was perfect, or so we thought.
There are certain voices people have, you can tell when someone is ecstatic, like when Brittni called from the bathroom to tell me we were expecting.
And I will never forget that voice, much like I will never forget the voice of that morning when Brittni called me into the bathroom that early April morning.
We had lost the baby.
All our plans and hope for this little one were gone in an instant.
After hospital visits and doctor visits, we lost the baby after 8 weeks of Brittni being pregnant.
We thought this was God’s plan, we thought God was going to bless this child.
We thought this was what was suppose to happen, but were we wrong?
How could God want this for us and then take it all away?
Is God just this big kid with a magnifying glass causing pains to the ants below?
How can God be good when we felt so hurt?
Does God want us to hurt?
Why would he want this?
Did things get lost in translation?
Did we do something wrong?
Closing in a year since all of this happened, it still hurts, the pain is real, and I would love to stand before you and tell you, we are expecting, but we are not.
Thought of just being done are in our minds.
Let me be clear we our so very happy with the two daughters we have, they are amazing and we love them so very much.
But where is our third? I always thought I would have a boy if I can be honest with you.
Why did this God?
These feelings of loss, disappointment, hopelessness, is something that many if not all of us have felt before.
When a grandma is told she has months to live.
When a grandpa can’t remember your face as you try to say goodbye for the final time.
When a mom has skin cancer.
When your parents move away
When your cousin is killed in action serving his country.
When friends you have you don’t get to see anymore because they decided to go 90 on a gravel road.
When your friend calls and ask for prayer because their dad doesn’t know Jesus and he is on his death bed.
When a brother, a son, a father, a husband takes his own life, because they think the world would be better without them.
ALL of this stuff is all around us and the question of WHY GOD, is asked almost instantly.
WHERE ARE YOU GOD is shouted
We have all dealt with this, or know one who has.
Bad things happen, they happen to Christians, Non-Christians, good people, bad people, old, young, black, white, asian, male, female, it does not matter.
Things happen that cause us to ask, say, scream, yell, shout, cry out… WHERE ARE YOU GOD.
Over the next three weeks our series of “Hope in the Darkness” we are going to be looking at the story of Habakkuk.
You see these questions of why God, where are you God that we often ask, are questions that Habakkuk asked as well.
If you have your Bibles turn to the book of Habakkuk.
*I want to say on the front end of tonight that this message is not going to have a happy ending tonight.
I want us to leave here tonight feeling what Habakkuk would have felt upon speaking with God.
So before we go to God’s word, lets pray and we will begin
PRAY
Before we dive in, let me tell you what I know about Habakkuk, and its not much.
He is a prophet who has seen a vision or an oracle from God.
Habakkuk 1:1 ESV
The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
Ha
He is a prophet who has seen a vision or an oracle from God.
Often when we read other books written by prophets we see where they are from, who they are writing too, and even who their fathers were.
They did this so they could trace the line back to fathers of certain times and make sure this guy who was speaking on behalf of God was really speaking on behalf of God and not some false prophet.
The other thing we know about Habakkuk is what his name means: to embrace or to wrestle.
Now the book of Habakkuk is actually very different compared to the other books of the prophets.
We call them the minor prophet because these books of the Bible are pretty short but the words that are being said are through people on behalf of God.
Most typically we see the words that are being spoken are given as a warning to the people of Isreal.
God’s chosen people Isreal— would have warning often given to them.

Ezekiel starts off with an eerie theophanic experience; Amos, with a more normal theophany followed by oracles against foreign nations including Israel and Judah. Hosea begins with God’s invitation to marry a harlot. Joel begins by asking the people questions about the causes of current conditions. Obadiah opens with God’s call to battle against Edom, introduced uniquely by plural voices. Micah announces a theophany. Nahum begins with a confession of faith in a jealous and avenging God of wrath. Zephaniah starts straightforwardly with an oracle of judgment. Haggai begins with God’s condemning quotation of a complacent people’s refusal to do his work. Zechariah introduces a call to repentance immediately. Malachi begins with God’s confession of love for a people who do not believe him. God—his word, his actions, his coming, his call—opens prophetic books.

Now consider how Habakkuk begins.
It begins with a complaint to God on behalf of the people.
Habakkuk 1:2–5 ESV
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. “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
Habakkuk 1:2–4 ESV
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.
Just like Habakkuk we often find ourselves asking why?
We look at others and we say it isn't fair God.
The Question that Habakkuk was asking is:

God, WHY?

Why do you not seem fair God.
Listen to verse 2 and 3 again
Habakkuk 1:2–3 ESV
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.
Habakkuk has some serious questions!
He doesn’t understand why God is not intervening!
Habakkuk just like you and I know that God is all powerful and he can intervene at anytime.
SO WHY DON’T YOU GOD!
You could save but you are not!
We know you see the wrong all around us, but it continues!
WHY!! HOW LONG!
Habakkuk is being brutally honest and real with God.
He is saying God I am crying for help!
and YOU GOD, you don’t hear me!
Hearing in the Hebrew meant to hear and respond.
Habakkuk was has been waiting for a response and he has nothing.
It is like sending a text message or a facebook message and you see that they read it but they don’t respond to you!
Habakkuk goes on to say I have been crying VIOLENCE!
The wicked were oppressing the righteous!
Habakkuk is crying this out, and to cry means to cry out in distress or horror!
THIS IS NOT RIGHT GOD!
WILL YOU NOT SAVE US!
It is fair to say that Habakkuk had some problems with God in this moment.
This problems he had and problems that we seem to have with God today as well.
God can’t you hear me or do you just not care?
Why are you not doing anything?
I thought you were suppose to be for us, not against us?
Maybe questions are not what we say.
Maybe we go to God and say God if I were you I would do it this way.
In these times well meaning Christians will say let go and let God, or that God is in control!
While all of those things sound nice and their heart is in the right place.
You more likely then not will hear this and scoff- I think that if you were to tell Habakkuk this, he would have scoffed.
Because when you are in the thick of bad things happening, and your faith is being rocked, and you are having doubts about God, that is sometimes the last thing you want to hear.
So let me ask you a question?
Is it ever okay to question God?
The answer is Yes.
Habakkuk here did it.
Many of the Psalm from David did it.
Lots of prophets asked questions
Jesus while on the cross— cries out WHY GOD HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!
When our faith is being rocked, and we are crying out and we are having radio silence from God how are we suppose to feel?
God responds to Habakkuk here in verse 5
Habakkuk 1:5–11 ESV
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand. At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!”
Habakkuk 1:5-

God’s Response

God responds to Habakkuk.
God is telling him, wait and watch what I am going to do Habakkuk!
You are going to be amazed!
I am at work, and you would not believe if I told you what I was up to!
Prepared to be amazing Habakkuk.
God responds to Habakkuk but He does not answer Habakkuk’s questions of
Don’t you hear me?
Won’t you save?
Why is this wrong stuff happening?
God doesn’t answer that, instead he answers Habakkuk, I am rising up a group of people the Chaldeans.
To Habakkuk this did not make sense at all!
Who were the Chaldeans?
This nation was evil! They were violent!
They were enemies to Isreal!
God was raising up their enemies?
WHY God?
Habakkuk did not understand.
I think it is safe to say that when things are bad in our life, we tend to not understand what is happening.
We ask questions, good honest and real questions to God.
We wrestle for answers.
We embrace a faith in God
*Remember what Habakkuk’s name means: to Wrestle; to embrace.
This is what a believer in God will do.
Habakkuk names
God allows questions.
He never came at Habakkuk and yell at him, or tell him he is stupid, or questions his lack of faith.
God answers him.
God allows Habakkuk to ask questions, to even cry out in distress.
To question honestly, and to be open and raw.
God allows Habakkuk to wrestle with his questions.
And we see Habakkuk embrace faith in God.
Habakkuk 1:12–13 ESV
Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?
Habakkuk is answering God back.
And he is telling God, God— actually the term he is using is YAWAH the personal name of God— I know that you are everlasting!
I have faith in you, I am embracing you father, you are the rock, you are unchangeable.
I know who you are God, but God I am wrestling with what I see here.
God help me to overcome my doubts.
I still see pain and this is hurting me!
I don’t get it.
The righteous are still being swallowed up and God I don’t understand why this is happening!
Why could this happen!
Don’t you care about me?
look at verse 12 and 13 again:

12 Are you not from everlasting,

O LORD my God, my Holy One?

We shall not die.

O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment,

and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.

13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil

and cannot look at wrong,

why do you idly look at traitors

and remain silent when the wicked swallows up

the man more righteous than he?

Are you not from everlasting. O Lord my God, my Holy one we shall not die- Habakkuk is embracing.
O Lord, you have ordained them as judgement,- Habakkuk is wrestling.
and you, O Rock,- Embracing
have established them for reproof- Wrestling
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong— Embracing
Why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?- He was Wrestling.
If you find yourself here tonight and you are going through some hard stuff and you are wrestling and embracing right now
Let me tell you something friends
1. God understands you pain
2. God welcomes your questions
3. God would rather you yell at Him then walk away from your faith
Look you are going to have doubts.
Doubts are so common in faith but yet we discourage them so often.
I have said this before that I believe that is the worse thing we can do.
Doubts are going to happen.
The best cure for doubt is an increase in faith
You cannot stay in that doubt— allow that doubt to move you closer to God.
We must draw closer to Him in our doubts
Habakkuk was wrestling and embracing.
the beginning of chapter 2 tells us this:
Habakkuk 2:1 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.
He was going to wait and listen for God.
You ever hear the phrase God won’t give you more than you can handle or more then I can bear?
You know where that passage comes from?
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corthians 10:13
Wait i thought it was about what we could handle.
It’s not.
You see I believe that God will give you more then you can handle.
This may not be encouraging to you because you may be holding on by a thread and if one more thing comes your way you may just lose it.
Be encouraged that God will be with you.
God will give you more then you can handle to show your desperate need for him.
Paul is a perfect example of this
2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 12:7–10 ESV
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God’s grace is sufficient for us, in our weakness he is perfect.
At this point in the story of Habakkuk; there has been no answer, to plan, no resolve.
Often people get upset with God for all the reasons we mentioned before.
They get mad and they walk away from him
They say things like if God was good then bad things would’t happen.
Right now we are in chapter one of Habakkuk, there are two more chapters left.
Many people walk away from God in chapter 1.
Chapter 2 is next week and it isn’t much better.
When we are in chapter 1 we wrestle and we embrace
Let’s pray
Questions
When is a moment you questioned God?
How do we embrace our pain?
Why is it important that we do go through bad things?
What does it mean to wait on God?
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