How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
The prophet Habakkuk’s complaint resonates with us, for we similarly are anguished and frustrated.
The answers are in today’s other Scriptural readings:
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded…
In other words, we soldier on — “bear our share of hardship,” do “all you have been commanded” with a spirit of courage, power, love and self-control, and spread the gospel of truth.
As J.R.R. Tolkien put it in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”
May the courage and love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,