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Catechism, Ministry

Question #2 – What is God?

July 30, 2020

Question #2 – What is God?

God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.

For every human living on earth, question #2 from the New City Catechism may be one of the most important questions you could ever ask. What is God like? How does he act? Who is he? These are some of the most fundamental questions that will require a lifetime to ponder. A.W. Tozer once wisely said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Fortunately, the catechism provides us with a beautiful picture of what God is like.

CREATOR AND SUSTAINER

God is first and foremost the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. Genesis 1 and 2 show that God is the ultimate creator of everything, speaking creation into existence by the word of his power. There is nothing that exists that God did not create (John 1:1-3). As the creator, God has the right over all creation, meaning, that he is king over all.

Not only is God the creator but he is the sustainer of everyone and everything. Not a single person or animal takes a breath without God’s sustaining power; a blade of grass will not grow without God’s permission. All things are sustained and held together through him (Colossians 1:17). This means that God is actively working and present not only in our lives, but in the entire world. Notice the comprehensive statement of the catechism: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything.

THE CHARACTER OF GOD

If God is the creator and sustainer of all things, would it not be helpful to know what he is like? In ancient history, many cultures believed that some form of deity created the world but primarily through violence, chaos, and conflict. Is this God the same? The Catechism will proclaim that the God of the Bible is nothing like the gods of the nations. So then, who he is?

First, God is eternal, meaning that he always has been, or, to put it another way, God is self-existent. God is self-existent in the sense that his existence is not tied to anyone or anything but rather in himself. Therefore, there has never been a time in which God has not been—he always was, is, and will be. “God is self-existent, that is, He has the ground of His existence in Himself.”1 God is the uncaused being—one who exists wholly by himself by no causation. “All that God is, he is of himself.”2

Second, God is infinite, meaning that he is free from all limitations or hindrances. There is nothing too difficult or straining for him; he never gets tired or weary. God is also not confined to space, meaning that God is everywhere—no one can hide from him. The Lord alone is the creator, the possessor of heaven and earth, the Lord of all creation, in whom we all live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Third, God is unchangeable, meaning that God will always be who he is; he does not decrease in his power; he does not weaken in his perfections; he does not sin. Another way to say this is that God is constant and consistent—he will never change! The catechism mentions several characteristics that God will never change in, namely, his power, perfection, goodness, glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. God will always be wholly consistent in all of these attributes.

To take it a step further, not only will God not alter from these attributes, he himself is the source and the definition of these attributes. What is goodness? It is the goodness of God. What is truth? It is the truth of God. This is to say that truth is not something that God has but something that he is. Therefore, he is the source and author of all goodness, truth, justice, and goodness. Any goodness, truth, justice, etc on earth is simply an imitation and deviation from God’s attributes.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  1. How is the eternality and infinity of God bring you comfort?
  2. What attribute of God brings you the most encouragement?
Books, Ministry

The One Book That Changed My Life

July 20, 2020

In college, my wife and I were visiting grandparents in northwestern Wyoming, where we were suddenly stuck in a blizzard just west in Idaho. With nothing to do, we walked over to the used bookstore next-door. Scanning the plethora of dusty books, I came across a book that was recommended to me months ago that I never bothered to pick up: Knowing God by J.I. Packer. With nothing left to do, I bought the first-edition print of this now classic theological treatise with no regard to how it might change me in the future.

Fast-forward a few days, we are again stuck in the airport waiting for a snowstorm to pass. I reach into my bag and pull out Knowing God and begin to read about this God that Packer seems to know so intimately yet was so foreign to me. The God of J.I. Packer was sovereign, holy, in control, jealous for his glory, powerful. Perhaps the God I was accustomed to was a bit needy, longing to be in my presence, and was simply a nice addition to my life. Packer talked about God the way an experienced climber talks about Everest: with delight and fear. I devoured the first quarter of the book and thought, “I’ve never heard of this God before.”

In one book, Packer fundamentally changed my perception of God. Even though the phrase is overused, Knowing God literally changed my life. When people ask for my top recommended books, Knowing God is, without hesitation, the first book that I recommend. In fact, I think it should be read once a year. It is that good.

This past week, on July 17, J.I. Packer passed away and is now enjoying the presence of the very God that he wrote about for so many years. Outside of Knowing God, Packer has influenced me through a host of other books, including Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, A Quest for Godliness, and Weakness is the Way. Outside of that, Packer played an influential role in the translation of the English Standard Version (ESV), which is the Bible that I regularly use and preach from.

In light of Packer’s passing, perhaps one of the best ways to honor his legacy is to not only pick up a copy of Knowing God but to cherish and delight in the God that he wrote about. Packer’s aim was for Christians to know, experience, and glorify the Triune God, so that God might be rightly seen for who he is—the all-knowing, all-seeing, God of the universe.

Bible, Catechism, Ministry

Introducing The New City Catechism

July 15, 2020

In my last post, I wrote about the dwindling popularity of using catechism’s as one of the main forms of discipleship. In order for you to understand why I am writing these posts, please read my previous post first. In order to put into practice what I preach, I want to use this blog as a means of communicating the importance of catechism’s while also using it as a platform to disciple my church (Coram Deo) in The New City Catechism. This post will serve as an introduction to the latest catechism that can be utilized for the entire family.

First, what is The New City Catechism? The New City Catechism was created by Tim Keller, former pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Keller wanted to compile a modern day catechism that still contained biblically rich doctrine with updated language. For those familiar with historic catechisms, some of the question and answers in this latest version will be familiar to you. Keller adapted 52 questions and answers from historic Reformed catechism, such as the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Catechisms.

HOW DO YOU USE THE NEW CITY CATECHISM?

The makers of The New City Catechism not only updated the vernacular they used in the catechism, they updated the medium by which we use the catechism as well. The catechism is now adapted to modern life with a beautiful iPhone and Android app that can be used on-the-go or in family worship in the evening. For those who prefer a hardcopy, a catechism and devotional can be purchased online for a small price.

The best way to utilize The New City Catechism is dividing each question and answer into one week, which will allow you to complete the entire catechism in one year. For families, I recommend having daily family worship, where you go over one question each week. For those with small children, there are songs attached to each question which will help the titles ones memorize the content.

WHO IS THE CATECHISM FOR?

Perhaps you have been a Christian for over thirty years, do you really need to learn the catechism? I would, without hesitation, ask you to pick up the catechism and memorize! It will only add fuel to your soul about the life-saving truths of Jesus that you have treasured for thirty years.

Perhaps you are a new Christian and are looking for answers to some of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. There is not a better place to start. For two thousands years, the church has used catechesis to instruct and educate new disciples of Christ in the fundamentals of the faith. For others, maybe you have lead someone to Christ recently and are looking for material to train them—this would be an excellent resource to utilize for this process.

Others of you perhaps are not even Christians and simply want to explore the Christian faith. While the catechism is not designed to give you thorough answers to all of your questions, it will give you a basic understanding of what we believe and what values we hold to.

AN INVITATION TO LEARN

Will you accept the invitation to learn? Will you accept the invitation to disciple and educate your children in the faith that you love? Will you sacrifice your comfort and time to learn about the precious truths of God’s word? Consider picking up your phone, downloading the app, or ordering the book online, and discover the ancient catechisms that Christians have been using for hundreds of years.

Bible, Ministry

The Importance of Catechesis in the Modern Church

July 14, 2020

It is a cold, chilly evening in November, your family has just finished dinner and you are setting up for family worship. You have your Bibles in hands, alongside a catechism that is providing foundational truths for your families’ spiritual growth. Everything is set, except one person is missing: your pastor. After a few minutes, your pastor arrives at the door, sits down, and begins to talk to your family about the importance of the Christian faith. He does this through a variety of ways: prayer, Scripture reading, and through catechesis. He invites you and your children to recite the weekly question and answers from this week’s study. You end with a corporate song of the doxology and praying for one another.

For many modern Christians, this scene is completely foreign, perhaps even strange to the way that we conduct discipleship in our churches. Discipleship is a program, a Bible study, an event I attend; catechesis is outdated, foreign, and inefficient. Yet, for hundreds, dare I say, thousands of years, pastors instructed their people in the fundamentals of the faith through catechesis. At the present moment, the practice of memorizing a catechism for discipleship purposes is completely lost on generations of modern Christians.

The early church thought it critical to educate its new members in the doctrines of the faith, as is evidenced by the use of the Didache in the late 1st century. The Didache (greek for “The Teaching”) which describes the early Christian ethics, practices, and order. It instructed Christians on prayer, fasting, baptism, communion, and a host of other Christian practices. The new converts to Christianity needed to know what was distinct about their new life in Christ. Since the writing of the Didache, thousands of pastors and theologians have written and adapted catechism’s for their modern day in order to instruct and educate God’s people for God’s mission. Yet, in the last hundred years or so, this ancient and wise practice has somehow been lost.

However lost at the present moment, current pastors and theologians are attempting to revitalize catechesis in the church today. Tim Keller, a pastor in New York City, adapted many of the historic, reformed catechisms and modernized the language, resulting in The New City Catechism. With such a historic, reliable tool at our disposal, Christians in the 21st century would be unwise not to learn the core Christian doctrines and practices through this excellent resource.

What if reinventing the wheel of discipleship for new Christians, our children, and even ourselves, we attended to the historic route of catechesis. For some, catechism may seem rote, dull, and boring; what is the benefit of memorizing answers to spiritual questions? In so many facets of our life, we are comfortable with routine, yet when it comes to spiritually, we gawk at the idea. My prayer and hope is that you my give catechesis a chance, and you may discover that through the routine of memorizing simple question and answers, God will shape and mold your heart into the image of His beloved Son.

Book Review, Ministry

Book Review: Reset

June 24, 2020

In this present historical moment, humans across the world have more access to information and opportunities for connection than ever before. Particularly for Americans, life is often described with one simple, yet repeated word: busy. The ever-growing demands of modern life coupled with our general restlessness given the advancement of digital technology in the forefront of our lives has caused us to become a people marked by burnout. For many, the concept of life being slow, calculated, methodical, or even restful is not only foreign, it’s impossible. In a short yet incredibly helpful book, professor David Murray (Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary), invites Christians in Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture to undergo a personal deconstruction so that they may in turn find more freedom and joy in this world.

When reading books surrounding rest, retreat, minimalism, or a host of other topics surrounding the one general theme of rest, many authors will choose to go in one of two directions. On the one hand, many authors will seek to convince you that you need to make significant changes in your physical and emotional life (work changes, more sleep, etc). On the other hand, other authors will you invite to discover the realm of spirituality (thus, the uprising of meditation and mindfulness). One of Murray’s greatest strengths is composing a picture of the whole human: physical, emotional, and spiritual. He does not offer simple platitudes that will only last for a minute but gives you a comprehensive picture of a life lived in Christ, which effects the way we pray, eat, sleep, and recreate.

After personally experiencing burnout, Murray invites his readers to find the richness of a life not marked by busyness, stress, and chaos but through an identify shaped by the work of Christ, which flows to every facet of life. Fundamental to our problem is not whether we have good time management (though that is important), but whether or not our lives are anchored to the grace-giving identity of being found in Christ. Critical to all of our restlessness, Murray seeks to apply the finished work of Christ as the foundation to all living.

Lest we think that Murray simply invites Christians to read their Bibles and pray more, Reset offers you a beautiful holistic life that is shaped around grace and rest. In other words, how does your sleep, diet, goals, technology use, spiritual disciplines, church attendance, and goal setting shape the person you are becoming now? Coupled with both biblical and practical wisdom, Murray will challenge the way you live so that you do not have to encounter burnout like many Americans are in this present moment.

This book, in particular, is helpful to pastors, as Murray writes as one who understands the demanding challenges of ministry. If you are a pastor or ministry leader that is experiencing the alarm signs of burnout, please, for the sake of your soul and your family, pick up Murray’s book and put in the hard work of self-examination. In the beginning of the book, Murray invites you to take an inventory of your current soul status. For many, this may be the gift that you desperately need. God is inviting you to find healing and rest in Christ, not so that you may do less for the King, but so that you may endure to the end with a heart that still loves God, your family and children, and your neighbor as yourself.

Ministry

An Architectural Theology

June 22, 2020

As a pastor of a new church plant, I have the opportunity to dream about what our potential building will look like one day. Will it match the scenery of the neighborhood we are in? Will it have modern touches that appeal to the average American? What will the architecture and aesthetics of our building communicate to the watching world? Over the past forty years, as churches have sought to cater to people through attractional services, programs, and buildings, I believe that something has been lost with the constant sense of immanence in our buildings and the lack of transcendence. What do I mean by that?

Historically, churches wanted to communicate something with their buildings. They were not simply spaces to worship, though they did exist for that purpose—the building itself communicated an attribute about God: his transcendence. When you walk into an ancient cathedral, towering with high ceilings, you gain a sense of your finitude. Few people boast in their own power when standing at the base of Everest. Architecture has the power to humble a man under the transcendence of God communicated through a well-designed facility. To be clear, worshipping in a building that communicates the transcendence of God does not invoke the presence of God magically; rather, it designates and demonstrates that you are in a sacred space.

Again, many churches moved away from buildings that felt austere because they wanted to appeal to non-Christians in a more friendly environment. Lest we forget, God is not a product to be marketed and a good to be consumed, but the holy and ferociously jealous God of the universe. Personally, what if non-Christians were not looking for a comfortable environment but a different environment. I can experience the comforts of modern church buildings anywhere, I can only experience the sacredness and the uniqueness of God’s people worshipping the Triune God in this space. What if a means of winning the nations in our city is what our building communicates to people: through the church, God invitees you into his bigness. I want non-Christians to feel comfortable and welcome, at the same time, I want the building and the service to feel foreign; I want the space and liturgy to invoke curiosity about our practices and the God we serve.

This is not to say that God should always be transcendent, for we know that God must at the same time become immanent. This is where the body of Christ becomes a tangible representation of the word made flesh. As the people of God extend a hand of fellowship, create a welcoming and hospitable environment, confess their sins, partake in the sacraments, and live out the story of God with their friends and neighbors, those who are far from God experience both the transcendence and immanence of God via the body of Christ.

So pastors, are we thinking about what our buildings communicate? Are we seeking to show the beauty, complexity, and transcendence of the glory of God? Or are we attempting to market the God of the Bible as another common good that people need to consume? May we seriously consider building a more robust architectural theology that leads to the expansion of God’s kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.

Bible, Ministry

Digital Church Is A Poor Replacement

June 11, 2020

When Covid-19 hit the United States early in 2020, many churches around the country were in panic mode. How would they gather? How would they sing and celebrate? How would they take the sacraments? How would they hear the word of God preached? Thankfully, as the church has always done, many churches throughout our country improvised in order that the church may be fed and equipped to live a life on mission in a broken world. As some Covid-19 restrictions are starting to lift, many pastors are facing a potentially fatal problem: will they want to come back? While many people have missed physically worshipping with God’s people, others have found it quite enjoyable to stay at home to not fight their kids and worship in their pajamas.

Sadly, many Christians are unaware of the detrimental effects of loosing their church family, at least physically loosing their church family. As we all know, digital connection is as real as porn is to sex—it offers the real experience but with significant shortcomings. As embodied souls, we need to be together. I need to hear your singing, I need to experience the dead silence of confession, I need to shaped alongside you by the word of God, I need to participate in the sacramental meal together—we need one another. Lest we forget, we are creatures who have bodies, senses, and experiential capacities.

While I want to extend an enormous amount of grace to Christians in this season, I also want to urge them to consider the necessity and importance of gathering together, even if it is inconvenient. It will always be easier to watch a service online, but will it be as profitable? Will it be as rich? Will it be as formational? Rather than let convenience drive our decisions, please allow the Scriptures to inform how we live, heeding the call of Hebrews 10:24-25, “[24] And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, [25] not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

In the moments of greatest tragedy and trial, the church has been a refuge for those who are hurting and broken. I long for the churches across the world to function in the same capacity, inviting the weary and downtrodden to find hope and encouragement in Jesus. In this season, please take all the steps that are necessary for your safety. At the same time, please consider taking all the spiritual steps necessary for you soul to thrive and flourish.

Bible, Ministry

Coronavirus and Christian Freedom

June 1, 2020

Division In The Church

The mood was tense—obviously the meeting was called to help reconcile a significant conflict that happened in the church. Like lines drawn in the sand, each party sat on their respective sides of the main isle. The words of God’s people were not in towards adoration towards their savior but in accusation against their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The battle ground was not over some important theological treatise or an immoral failing of a leader— it was over whether or not it was proper to eat meat. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul mediates the conflict: “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. [3] Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him” (Rom 14:2-3). 

It may sound silly that a congregation could be divided over what types of food they eat but the reality is that the modern church is facing a similar moment of division. Our battle is not concerning food but concerning the symbol of safety amidst a global pandemic: the mask. Pastors are recognizing that a few pieces of cloth could soon split their church if they do not deal with the issue with biblical wisdom and care. In this vein, I am thankful for Brett McCracken who wrote an excellent piece at The Gospel Coalition entitled “Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You.” My hope is that we may discover that the Bible actually has helpful wisdom on how to navigate such ethical grey matters.

The Gospel Allows Us To Yield

In Romans 14, Paul instructs all Christians, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions” (Rom 14:1). In this case, the one who is weak in faith is the one who has a soft conscience, believing that eating meat is personally wrong. How then should the church approach such a person? The people of God should welcome them because God in Christ has welcomed all of us (Rom 14:3). We stand united on every Lord’s Day not based upon our preferences or our worldly identities but upon the very fact that God has united us to Christ and therefore, we belong both to God and to one another. 

In a season of perpetual contradictory advice, let us not fall into the trap that what binds us together is our homogenous response to the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be godly Christians who choose to wear masks, social distance for longer, and take an abundance of safety precautions; there will also be godly Christians who do the opposite. Let us live in light of Paul’s exhortation, “[6] The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. [7] For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. [8] For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. [9] For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Rom 14:6-9). What binds us together is the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and therefore, regardless of our opinions of how to handle this current crisis, we can stand united together in grace. 

We all have the opportunity to extend one another charity and grace in light of God’s constant extension of grace to us. We remember that Christ died and rose so that we who were his enemies might find forgiveness and life. In this complex season, let us not allow division to grow in our churches due to our personal preferences and convictions surrounding best practices. My hope and prayer, particularly for the people of Coram Deo, is that God may be shaping us into a people who are full of slow to speak, quick to listen, full of grace, and possess an abundance of patience for one another. 

Ministry, Theology

Coronavirus and Life

May 26, 2020

At the front of political and cultural discourse is a conversation about life, particularly, how to save and protect life in light of coronavirus. In our age of mounting divisive rhetoric, the ability to hold two positions in tension is of utmost importance. Over the past few months, I have noticed that there is a heightened sense of longing to protect and preserve life when it comes to coronavirus. Phrases such as, “Stop the spread! Flatten the curve! Stay home!” dominate everything from mainstream news to billboards. I first and foremost want to affirm that this falls in line with the biblical ideal—that we protect and preserve life, for all mankind has been made in the image of God. Every life is worthy of such honorable pursuit. 

Yet, the inability to have a charitable dialogue is stifling a broader view of what constitutes life. At this given moment, individuals in various positions are simply not listening to one another. One camp wants to continue to preserve life by containing the stay-at-home orders, while the other camp wants to open the country so that economic and emotional and mental health may prosper. Unfortunately, since we are unable to listen with humility and respond with charity, neither position gains traction but simply digs their heels in further. My hope and prayer for the church I serve (Coram Deo) is that God would shape us into a people that are slow to speak, quick to listen, and abundant in grace and charity. 

This all leads to my proposition: that in our current system, when the majority of Americans use the word “life,” particularly in the Covid-19 pandemic, the word is limited and stifled. What do I mean by that? The narrative has been all about protecting and preserving life, which, in this case, means physical life. Yet, we all know that simply being alive is not all that it means to be alive. We understand very acutely that the quality of life that we posses is in direct correlation to our value of “life.” For example, it is not for no reason that when we are in a terrible job or relationship we often use the phrase, “This job/relationship is killing me.” This is because the job/relationship is inflicting death upon our souls, even though we are still physically living. 

Personally, I want to do everything I can to help limit the spread of Covid-19 and therefore, protect and preserve physical life. At the same time, I want to acknowledge that the attempts to stave off physical death are also creating more physical, emotional, and spiritual death. In other words, while we may be protecting and preserving physical life, we may, unintentionally creating and mental health crisis that virtually does the same thing. A recent report from the head of one of California’s hospital’s trauma team recently noted that they have seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks. In a survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus is harming their mental health. Furthermore, “a federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year.” Is this really living? 

I understand that there are no clear-cut answers to the problems we are currently facing. Anyone who proposes simple solutions to the complexity that we are in right now is simply ill-informed. Yet, in our chanting of preserving life, let us not forget that life is more than physical living. How many more deaths by suicide will it take for us to realize that in our attempts to stave off death by illness, we may be creating an environment where death by self is the preferred option. May we begin to recapture the wisdom of old, that God has made man to love him with our whole beings—heart, mind, soul, and strength (Duet 6:6). 

So, yes, I want to unapologetically defend the lives of those who are currently living. I want to help in the endeavor to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases; I want to serve my fellow neighbors and citizens by being safe; I want to help people from physically dying. I also want to acknowledge that stay-at-home orders are also causing death—both in suicide and in emotional and mental health. As a people, God is inviting us to hold both of these options in tension rather than living in the faux-binary choice system that we are often pressed to believe.

Bible, Ministry

Boldness in Prayer

May 11, 2020

In the midst of evil, suffering, anxiety, and death, where do you turn? Do you turn to God? Perhaps, more specifically, how do you turn to God? When life is overwhelming, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and sorrow crashes upon our soul, do you believe that God longs for you to come with honesty and transparency? Or do you believe that He wants a polished version of your anxious heart? 

In the 7th century B.C., a relatively unknown minor prophet named Habakkuk was in a similar season of discouragement. There was evil in the land of Judah, pollution of God’s temple, and he was lamenting the effects of sin in God’s promised land. But, as modern people often think, what can such an old book from such an unknown man teach us about the complexities of modern life? Quite a lot actually. You see, Habakkuk was so confident in God, that he prayed with audacity and boldness. Listen to the lament of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk 1:2–3, 12

            [2] O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,

                        and you will not hear?

            Or cry to you “Violence!”

                        and you will not save?

            [3] 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. (ESV)

            [12] Are you not from everlasting,

                        O LORD my God, my Holy One?

                        We shall not die.

Habakkuk cries out to God with boldness, levying accusations against God that he tolerates evil. It is as if Habakkuk is screaming at the heavens, “Don’t you see the evil in the land! Can’t you see the injustice! Do you not care? Why do you look at evil and do nothing?” There is the true Habakkuk—wrestling, fighting, struggling, lamenting. Habakkuk continues with a rhetorical question, which, if you remember, is not a request for information but serves as an accusation framed in a question, “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God? Are you not infinite? I thought you were supposed to be this great God! I thought you were supposed to be wise and infinite. I guess your not.” 

Amazingly, God does respond to Habakkuk throughout the letter, “Don’t worry, Habakkuk. I am doing something about the evil and injustice in the world. I’m bringing judgment, but more importantly, I’m bringing salvation.” In the shadows of the minor prophet lie penetrating images of light, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Even though life currently is filled with suffering and evil, remember that God’s ultimate goal for all things is restoration and redemption. 

One of the most beautiful things about the Bible is that is written for us, meaning that God has placed the laments of Habakkuk in the Bible for a reason: that we might learn to lament honestly with the prophet. In this season of Covid-19, will you accept the King’s invitation to lament and pray boldly and honestly? Will you come to him with your fear, discouragement, anxiety, anger, and complaining? God does not want your polished prayers but your genuine laments. 

Do you know why it is OK that you come to God with your honesty? Because His love for you is not dependent upon your piety but upon His faithfulness. God says to you, “I love you not for who you are but in spite of who are you.” God has made a covenant commitment to you; he is not leaving. Today, you can cry out with bold honesty, knowing that your Father stoops down on one knee and says, “I know, my child, what it feels like to be in a world full of lamenting. I’m here with you.” Will you go to him today?