We all have heard the nursery rhyme of “what good little girls are made of”. Many of us can think of a kind little girl who would fit that description as a child, but then something happens once they hit their teenage years. As for small boys – well, they are usually not as interested in being good – as we know.
Why is it that so many of us start out life trying to be good, but as we age things get more complicated and the desire to even appear to be good often fades away? Nonchalantly we normally chalk this up to life being simpler when we were young. Whether it is simpler, or we just see it that way, is the question.
When we are young, our heroes are one-dimensional and the difference between good and bad seems much clearer. In our youth, we look up to those in authority and try to earn their approval by being good according to their definition.
Then as we age life gets more complicated. Good and evil starts to become murkier and we begin to realize that “the good” are not always rewarded and “the evil” are not always punished. At the same time, we begin to realize that our own needs are not always satisfied by choosing the “good” option.
Ralph Waldo Emerson may have summed it up best, “It is very hard to be simple enough to be good.”
If you let those words sink in you begin to see how our nature plays out as we get older and smarter.
The hardest thing to endure is when justice is delayed. Many times, we don’t even get to see the consequences for poor behavior during our lifetimes; and even if we do, it is often delayed just enough that we don’t put the consequences and their cause together.
Which is why I love the book of Habakkuk. He is such a normal person and he writes as he thinks, without a filter. In the first chapter, he starts out with a common thought that most of us have had at one time or another: “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted”.
God answers him by saying, I am going to bring even more injustice into the mix. I am going to raise up the Babylonians. You think what you have seen so far is bad, wait until you meet these guys…
To which Habakkuk is even more frustrated and let’s go of more complaining; something I am sure I would do as well.
After listening to these complaints God does not answer the reason for why He is allowing all this injustice. He merely gives Habakkuk a job to do. Write all these thoughts down He says, because in the end you will see that everything will be made right.
For the interim…the righteous has but one choice. Keep your heads down and remain faithful.
It is not the comforting answer that Habakkuk was looking for, nor is it the answer that we are looking for when it is our turn to experience injustice…but it is our only choice.