Thursday, July 28, 2022
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Asking the hard questions

However, some people of religious belief would claim that the reverse is true. We would say that to ask the hard questions of God is an act of faith in itself – that it conveys a profound trust in the understanding and grace of our God. We would encourage the development of communities of our faith which dare to ask the hard questions out loud, to believe that genuine and honest humans do that when life challenges our faith and the nature of our God.

The book of Habakkuk is quite brief. Its writer is saying to God: “O God, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘violence’ and you will not save?” Habakkuk then goes on to describe all sorts of injustices and tragedies in the world around him. God responds to his cries with instructions to “write a vision” and to stay with that vision no matter how long it takes to bring it to life.

In the end, Habakkuk says: “The spring tree will not blossom, the vine will not bear fruit … but I will exult in the name of my God who carries my feet into the high places.” This is, of course, a statement of faith. No matter what life brings, Habakkuk is going to hold onto his dream of hope for what lies ahead. Faith is not about denying the realities which surround us, but being determined to live as though good change and justice is possible.

If we look at our world and our country at this time, it is surely difficult to sustain hope and a commitment to work for change. Everywhere we look we see people in need and refugees crying out for help while we turn our faces away. We see people with disabilities struggling to survive, women dying almost every day from domestic violence, injustices in workplaces and children in detention. Even the creation itself is suffering and struggling for survival.

It is tempting to just live as comfortably as we can and think that it is impossible to bring in the changes needed to make a difference. Every faith tradition invites us to have a grander vision and to bring a different example into the community around us – to inspire others to join us for a greater good. That is true faith – hard to sustain, but infinitely rewarding if we will hold onto each other as we go and never give up.

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