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All the world is aware of the tragedies that have been suffered by the Ukrainian people since their country has been invaded by Russia. It is difficult to imagine fleeing, leaving one’s home and possessions to escape the onslaught, using whatever transportation is available. So, a question for Christians concerning this tragedy. With all they are suffering, do Ukrainian believers believe God is good? Do we?

What is the answer? Is God good even if He allows or even causes suffering such as the Ukrainians are now experiencing? To help answer that question, I would like to look at a prophet named Habakkuk, a contemporary of Jeremiah, whose nation was invaded and conquered by the mighty empire of Babylon. Habakkuk wondered why the Lord had allowed such evil to exist in Judah to cause this punishing judgment and why He would choose an evil nation like Babylon to punish them.  

Christians rarely have to consider such tragedies of national import. Most often we suffer personal tragedies. We ask, “If God is good, why do terrible things happen to good people?” Young people, even babies and children, are taken from this life too early, it seems, by accidents and terrible diseases. Why would God allow this? Does He even care about what we’re going through?

There are three solutions for Christians to help us deal with this question, and they include faith, trust, and possessing an eternal view of life. We believe God is good. We trust Him. We believe that all will be good when all will be known.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).1

Easy words to write and read. Very difficult to live out. We know that a thousand years are like a day to the Lord, but when we awake every morning, the emotional or physical pain is still there. Emotional pain can ebb over time, but physical pain and discomfort every day is an enormous challenge. For Ukrainians, one day of fleeing from an invading army may not seem like much, but then the next day dawns, and all the comforts of home, even home itself, are still missing. Sleeping and personal hygiene are challenges. Care of elderly relatives can be taxing, even in the best of times.

These are the realities that Habakkuk faced. He knew what had happened to Israel years earlier. However, the Lord had answered Him, and He trusted Him. In fact, he even felt sorry for the coming conquerors.

“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us” (Habakkuk 3:16).

But he knew that trouble was coming to him and his countrymen, as well. He wrote these beautiful, faithful words in response.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:17–19).

Habakkuk did not witness the day of trouble that was to come upon the people who invaded Judah. Historians of the Bible estimate that Habakkuk lived sometime between 612 and 589 B.C. Babylon fell in 539 B.C., some fifty years after his death.

However, although we may not witness justice or relief in our lifetimes, the Lord expects us to trust that He will bring it. The day of respite from suffering and discomfort will come. He promised it will come.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

To this, we say, along with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, “Hasten the day, Lord. Hasten the day. Blessed be your name forevermore.”

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

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