In the current climate of perceived self-privilege, “Karen-ism,” and taking personal affront to anything that we don’t like hearing or seeing, it’s easy to resort to complaining. “I want to talk to your supervisor,” seems to be the general topic of hundreds of YouTube videos. But be careful at complaining too readily.
Sometime shorty before the siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the prophet Habakkuk had his go at the complaining game. He calls on God to do something about the evil, injustice, and idolatry in Israel. When he finished his litany of grievances, God replies. God says that He knows of the corruption of the leaders, and of the problems that Habakkuk has laid out. He continues to say that He will indeed act. In fact, God will allow the Babylonians to come and conquer the land.
This response catches Habakkuk on the back foot. “They are worse than we are!” is essential Habakkuk’s reply to this news. God nonetheless tell the prophet that this is what will come to pass, but to remember that it is God’s hands, not in men. He tells Habakkuk that the righteous will live by faith, and in His appointed time Babylon will be brought down and punished for their evil.
Sometimes the cure for ills is not in our comfort, or in our “rights and privileges.” Personally, I think that the pandemic has proven that. The greater good, such as masks or self-isolations, outweighed individualism. This is not a polemic for blind acquiescence to governmental authority, but instead a call for us to keep perspective. Like Habakkuk we can rest assured in the end God’s will shall be done.
For those who may still pondering governmental links (if so, sorry I brought them up), remember that the “woes” that Habakkuk cited: unfair economic practices, human exploitation, corrupt rule, and the worship of power, will all be remembered by God, and the perpetrators will be held accountable.
Next time then, before you head to the Complaint Department, or demand a manager, remember to weigh the situation in perspective, and the possibility that you might not like the answer.
The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has just passed after an absence of hundreds of years. Some call this the Christmas Star or the Bethlehem Star. In this year of fires, floods, racial and social unrest, and a world-wide pandemic it is perhaps a time to take stock and to reflect on the story not of this planetary alignment, but of the star of the Gospel account. It was a harbinger of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. It marked a transition in our relationship with the divine. The age of the Fall of Adam was coming to an end, and a promised saviour, the Messiah had come.
That did not mean that wars and rumours of wars, or fires, floods, and misfortune were coming to an end – 2020 surely shows us that. What it does say is there is a hope that is greater than those trials that is opened to us.
As I was reflecting on this I picked three YouTube videos to share which capture some of my thoughts. The first speaks of the coming of Emmanuel. The other two of the stresses and strains that Mary, the mother of Jesus may have faced in her obedience to God’s call. That obedience in the face of uncertainty and surely fears is a telling example for us all.
I wish all of you a happy Christmas, and pray that what ever the future holds for us, that we might cling to the Emmanuel – God with us.