Prophet Habakkuk, whom we remember today December 2nd, complains to God saying, “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?…Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Hab.1:2, 13). God was not doing what Habakkuk expected or wanted Him to do.
He didn’t do what the chief priests and teachers of the law expected Him to do either. In today’s Gospel reading, the chief priests and teachers demand to know “Tell us by what authority are You doing these things…who gave You this authority?”
Why doesn’t God just act the way He’s supposed to (according to my opinion of Him)? When God doesn’t do what we want or expect, He reveals Himself to us and we learn:
- God is free to do “whatever He pleases in the heavens and on the earth” (Psalm 135:6).
- He’s not someone for us to figure out and pigeonhole.
If we are willing to humble ourselves and accept these two things, then we can come to know God for Who He Is, as opposed to some idea we’ve come up with in our mind about Him. False ideas about God can be dangerous.
We learn to trust God by putting all our hope in Him alone. We don’t need to know all the answers but we do need to trust Him. We can be just as bad as the chief priests and teachers of the law when we approach God like they did saying, “tell us.”
We want to know all the answers (for the sake of our pride) but Jesus says, “I won’t tell you” (Lk. 20:8). His mild rebuke and silence are teaching tools. Through silence, He leads us to put all our hope in Him instead of ourselves, our understanding, our expectations, our desires…
So where is God when our expectations are not met, when things don’t go the way we want or when we ask a question and God is silent?
“Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights” (Hab.3:17-19).
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is,
God with us” (Matthew 1:23)
God is with us, taking us to places we could not go alone.