Habakkuk

How long, O Lord, must I cry for help
and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and discord.
This is why the law is numb
And justice never comes,
For the wicked surround the just;
this is why justice comes forth perverted.

Look over the nations and see!
Be utterly amazed!
For a work is being done in your days
that you would not believe, were it told.

-Habakkuk 1:2-5

Every morning I say prayers out of this monthly publication called Give Us This Day, which is put out by Liturgical Press, an apostolate of St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota. It’s got morning and evening prayers, the readings for the daily mass, and other supplemental material. The above passage was in this morning’s readings.

It seems to me like there’s often enough an idea of God that is some guy up in the clouds who throws down lightening bolts (or whatever) on the people he doesn’t like. My friend Charlie has this one poem, part of which goes something like:

Does God get home at night
Throw down his briefcase
Pour himself a scotch
And look up, wondering if there’s someone above his head
Contemplating his waistline?
Does God get foot rubs?
And if he does
Who gives them to him?

It took me a really long time to come around to the idea that God is not like that. She (or he) is not a person. You can’t pray for God to give you money or a cheesecake or tickets to Motley Crue cover band show and expect them to show up by express angel service or something like that. As the above Bible passage suggests, sometimes you can be in the middle of non-stop horrible shit, and be calling out to God to no avail. But what makes the passage compelling, I think, is the bit about things happening that “you would not believe.” One of the powerful things about believing that anything is possible with God is that anything, even unbelievable things, are totally possible.

Back when Donald Trump announced his candidacy, nobody believed that he could be a viable candidate. A lot of people still don’t believe he could win. And yet, he is the Republican front runner. Everybody is talking about him. “How could this happen?” People can’t believe that he would be so popular.

Well, believe it people. Anything is possible.

This week is Holy Week – the time between Palm Sunday, when we Christians celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem that leads to his crucifixion, and Easter, when we celebrate the his resurrection. A lot of people don’t believe that Jesus could be raised from the dead. But, you know…anything is possible.

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