They Cried Out “Save Us!” I Whispered Back “No.”

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 12, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“How Long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” ~Habakkuk 1:2

The problem of pain is one of the oldest problems that Christianity has had to deal with. The question takes various forms: “Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?” “How could there be a loving God when there is so much suffering in the world?” or “How can there be an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, good God when there is so much evil in the world?” In times of tragedy, it is difficult to speak reasonable theological truths to those who are mourning. Sometimes it is better to shut your mouth and let them say what they’ve got to say. The question, however, does not fade: “Why, God, do you turn a blind eye toward injustice?”

A famous image appears in my head of a photograph taken some years back that epitomized the wickedness and injustice of the world. It is of a very young child, whose legs have stopped functioning, desperately pulling herself along in the desert. Not more than 10 feet away, a vulture watches this child waiting for it to die. The photographer won awards for this famous picture, but under the pressure of guilt for not helping the child (as is the rule of professional photographers: do not interfere with the scene you are capturing) he supposedly committed suicide. Without casting judgment on this photographer, scenes like this make you question the existence of this God that is so full of love and justice that he certainly would not allow such a horrible thing happen to a child. The world is wicked and our days are short. But there is injustice that God willfully allows to take place in the world.

A couple of years ago a movie was released called The Watchmen. The movie takes place in the heat of the Cold War as the world faces destruction and the only thing standing between its fate and salvation are a handful of retired super heroes who need to solve the mystery of who murdered their friend and why. One of the heroes, by the name of Rorschach, had become fed up and cynical with the people he attempted to protect. I don’t remember his exact quote, but he’s playing the scenario through in his mind as these masses of unworthy, ungrateful people are begging him to save them from certain disaster: “They will cry out, ‘Save us!’ I will whisper back, ‘No.’”

When the sins of people become so out of control that their only refuge is to go back to the God they abandoned, sometimes he chooses to let them suffer the consequences of their evil. In Habakkuk’s prophecy, that is precisely what is happening. The people have ignored God and ignored him and continued to ignore him for so long that their pleas for help fall on deaf ears. Certainly, God hears them, but he instead chooses to say, “Let the gods you once worshipped be the ones to save you. You prayed to them, sacrificed to them, and made love to their prostitutes. What business do you have with me that you think I would want to save you?”

I do not know where we are in the course of American history. Many people believe we are there. Others believe that we are on the cusp of another Great Awakening. I hope for the latter but fear the former. Something significant is happening in our country that will change its course for the duration of human history. We have chosen for so long to call ourselves Christians, but then say it is ok to lie. It is ok to steal. It is ok to defile the marriage bed. It is ok to kill the innocent. It is ok to convict those who have committed no crime. It is ok to identify myself, first by my hobbies, then by my family, then if there is any room left God might have some influence on who I am.

Under such circumstances, any oppression we face as a nation is much deserved. Any blessings we might receive would be strictly grace. There is a vulture that is watching us drag ourselves along. It waits for us to run out of strength and collapse. It is when we have totally forsaken God as a nation that we will collapse under our weakness and the vulture moves in to clean up our withering body. The child in the photograph probably did nothing to deserve the fate that befell her. We as a country will reap the fruits of wickedness unless we turn around and call out to the Lord while there is still time.

There is hope. In the famous story of Jonah, Nineveh was going to be judged. Jonah went to them and told them to repent in sackcloth and ashes, to humble themselves before the Lord, and to ask forgiveness. They responded to the message and were saved.

There is no one righteous, but God faithfully forgives the sins of those who confess. He is good. He is just. He will not allow the wicked to go unpunished, nor will he allow injustice to prevail. In the end, he is the Judge and will punish the oppressor and exalt the innocent. We need to stop questioning the character of God and start examining our own lives. After all, it is righteous for one who has done no wrong to faithfully endure, but for one who commits crimes, what good does enduring hardship accomplish?

Let us walk in righteousness and allow God to deal with the difficult questions of “Why?” We cannot fully answer why bad things happen to good people, but we know why bad things happen to wicked people. We know that God will punish the wicked and uplift the righteous. Dare we not cry out to him after we have exhausted his patience.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.