Blogging with Habakkuk (5) – Does God Care?

(Part 5 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 1:2-4

Habakkuk was a prophet who struggled with questions about evil in the world and why God permits evil. Habakkuk’s three big questions were: “Does God care? Is God fair? Is God there?” People are still asking the same questions today. The book of Habakkuk traces the prophet’s journey from doubt to faith as he brought his complaints to God and found satisfying answers to his questions.

Habakkuk 1:2-11 deals with the first of these questions: Does God care? We will just look at verses 2-4 today.

Habakkuk 1:2-4 – 2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 herefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. (NIV)

“Does God care?” It is a question that has haunted countless persons over the ages as they have grappled with the problem of evil in the world. “If God is all powerful, then why does he allow evil and suffering? Is God concerned about us? Does he notice all the troubles that take place on our planet? Does God care?” If you have ever asked questions similar to these, then you are not alone. Habakkuk struggled with the same questions and doubts, and he was a prophet!

Last time we looked at verse 1 where Habakkuk said that he received this book as an oracle from the Lord. Verses 2-11 form the first section of the oracle. And this first section breaks into two parts. In verses 2-4 Habakkuk brings his complaint before the Lord. And in verses 5-11 God answers Habakkuk’s complaint. And once again, if we were to sum up Habakkuk’s complaint in this first section, it all comes down to the single question, “Does God care?”

Why do we sometimes think that God does not care? (verses 2-4)

    1) We pray but do not see God’s answer right away.

Why do we sometimes think that God does not care? One reason is when we pray but do not see God’s answer right away. At the beginning of verse 2, Habakkuk cries out to God: “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2a) Apparently Habakkuk had been praying to God for quite some time, but he did not see any answer coming. He began to wonder if God was even listening.

Do you ever wonder if God is listening when you pray? Have you ever prayed for something, I mean really prayed, and then when the answer didn’t come, you questioned whether God even heard you at all? When God does not answer our prayers right away, we sometimes think that God does not care.

    2) We are in trouble and God does not deliver us right away.

Another reason why we sometimes think God does not care is when we are in trouble, and God does not deliver us right away. Habakkuk continues his “how long” prayer in the second half of verse 2. “How long, O LORD, must I . . . cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2b) The particular word for violence here also carries the idea of injustice and cruelty. This is not violence as in a violent sport, but violence in a sinful context, where one person wrongfully does violence to another.

One of the most difficult things to deal with in life is when someone harms you unjustly and intentionally. A violent injustice is harder to handle than accidental injury or pain because there is the additional affront to your dignity. This was Habakkuk’s situation. And so he cried out, “How long, Lord, how long?” You can just hear the pain and desperation in his cry.

Have you ever prayed a “how long” prayer? “How long, O Lord, until I finally find a job? How long until I get better? How long until my marriage improves? How long until my loved ones come to Christ? How long until this burden is lifted from me?” We go through many trials in this life. And when we are in trouble and God does not deliver us right away, we sometimes think that God does not care.

    3) We see the wicked triumphing over the righteous.

Another reason why we sometimes think God does not care is when we see the wicked triumphing over the righteous. In verses 3-4, Habakkuk goes from asking God “How long?” to asking God “Why?” “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:3-4)

Habakkuk was writing at a time when the people of Judah had almost completely abandoned their loyalty to God and God’s laws. Habakkuk was surrounded by violence, destruction, conflict and strife. He could not look to the leaders of the nation for help because the leaders were equally corrupt.

The law was virtually paralyzed in this situation, and justice hardly if ever prevailed. The wicked not only outnumbered the righteous. They surrounded the righteous few, hemming them in, cutting them off, twisting and distorting justice until justice was no longer recognizable. And so Habakkuk cried out, “Why? Why do make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Lord, don’t you care?”

Do you ever ask God the “Why?” questions? Do you ever wonder why God allows evil in the world? Do you ever wonder why people who have no concern for God and his laws seem to prosper and get ahead? Meanwhile, you are doing your best to serve God, and you feel like you are falling behind. And you begin to wonder if it is all worth it. Does God really care? These are some of the same questions Habakkuk was struggling with at the beginning of his journey from doubt to faith.

(Looking ahead: Next time we will look at God’s answer to Habakkuk’s question in verses 5-11.)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.


  1. Keith says:

    When I experience evil, for me it is a challenge, because Jesus told us to walk away from evil, lest we get entangled in further confusion. So, right now, cities all over the world suffer from massive violence, and in a way all we can do is retreat and live in a smaller town that is more serene and away from inner city evils. Ultimately, our walk with God is one of faith, and we cannot know God’s ultimate reasons for permitting evil. And even to have faith, we must ask for that in humble prayer. I believe God cares, but in the difficult times, it is faith alone that gets us through, and even that is a gift of the Almighty.

  2. Ray Fowler says:


    It is very difficult understanding why God permits evil at times. I agree that we must walk by faith, trusting that God will bring good even out of evil.

    In the meantime, although we should certainly flee from temptation, I don’t think we can truly run away from evil in the world. When Jesus prayed for his disciples in John 17, he said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15) Sometimes we must stay and confront evil rather than walk away and retreat, asking for God’s protection all the while.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Goodson Mitochi says:

    This is really a thought provoking question, because it is our expectation that as we call upon the Name of the Lord in difficult situation we expect God to hear us and delivers us without delay after all did He promise in Psalms 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” that poses a question why then does He delay in bring this sought after deliverance? I believe God’s timing is not our timing as I read in Genesis 15:13-16 God is telling Abraham that his seed will be afflicted 400 years and in fourth generation they will come again hither again: for the iniquinity of Amorites is not full, as much as the Israelites would have loved to be delivered there and then, God is minding about the Amorites giving them chance to come to repentance I believe before He passes judgement on them, so this scenario teaches me that inspite of what we are going through God cares and He has surrounded us with songs of deliverance (Psalms 32:7) unfortunatelly we cannot hear these songs because of the troubles that have engulfed us. God really cares it takes faith to know this. Even myself I have in numerous occassion asked this very question does God cares, how many times must I prayer before He answers me? At the moment I have a car in the garage since January this year.Thieves came to my house meant to steal the car by hot starting it and in the process they messed up the engine. I don’t have money to pay for the repairs at the moment and the garage owners is asking for his space since this car has been there since January up until now and I really don’t have a clue as to how I am going to get the amount of money his is asking for to get it out except to trust in God to perform a miracle in my life I have been taking this to God in prayer but up until now no answer is forthcoming. God really cares inspite of this. Remain blessed pastor Ray Fowler

  4. cath says:

    I think the answers to Habbakuk’s questions are ”yes”, ”yes” and ”yes”.

    God is there – He involves himself in our lives – and He there.

    He almost promotes evil – well, He perhaps he just allows it? Certainly He has NEVER been known to restrict evil – because that is so easy [do we ever talk about a lazy God ?].

    I used to think He was not bothered – then I thought He was powerless… Well, it had to be one or the other, didn’t it? God was either not bothered – or, was impotent?

    If God was all-powerful and good [the verdict is out on that] and responds to prayer why does nothing ever ever change for the good? Because nothing ever really changes – What is the use of prayer? No use whatso ever. Prayer never gets us anywhere – it doesn’t diminish the animosity in the Middle East – and never has.

    I remember hearing of a much loved daughter who was asked by her parents what she would like most for her birthday – and she had replied: “I would like a pony and I have prayed to God that I can have a pony too and you told me he always answers our prayers”.

    Her parents were dismayed as they lived in a city and could not possibly afford to look after a pony.

    On birthday day: Mother & Dad said to daughter “We cant afford a pony”

    The little girl replied “I asked Jesus if I could have a pony ” – and he said ”no””

    Children understand so much and are much so nearer to Jesus that we sometimes forget how we were in those days


  5. Jared says:

    God has promised that He will be with us at all times(Matt. 28).The promise is made so that in difficult times you and me should find energy to move on.This promise also confirms to me that in whatever circumstances you and I go through God is with me.This makes me recall my childhood life;there are times Icould ask my parents to buy me agift and at times the gift could not come.Despite this, and at no time did I ever doubt their love to me even if the gift did not come.My friends had their gift and I could see it and still show it to my parents. This is the situation Habbakuk found himself in ;seeing other people prosper.(Remeber God has also promised H e has good plans for us, and that if we seek Him we shall find Him Jer.29& 31

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Goodson, Cath and Jared – Good thoughts all. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lawrence Thompson says:

    The answer is “No God does NOT care about us, our happiness, or our well being in every day life.”

    First of, the account of the fall of man shows a degree of ambivalence towards our fate. Before getting into what transpired then, we assume, arguendo, that Satan was in the Garden of Eden and it was he that took the form of a serpent and deceived Eve, who in turn enticed Adam into eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    The Bible describes Satan, at various points, as “a roaring lion looking to devour,” and cautions us to put on the armor of God to protect against Satan’s arrows. Apparently God thought Satan to be so caustic, so antagonistic, so evil an entity, He kicked Satan out of Heaven and threatened to bind him to Hell. Now certainly an all powerful, omniscient God who can foresee the evil Satan would create and penalize him accordingly could not only kick him out of Heaven, but could put him anywhere He wanted, right? He could have put Satan anywhere in the universe. He could have put him in Hell…directly to Hell…do not pass Go and do not collect $200. But he didn’t. He allowed Satan to come HERE WITH US!

    But He didn’t stop there. He gave us a warning to not eat of the tree of good and evil, but made no mention of the serpent who would try deceive us. I submit mankind may have had free will, but not informed will.

    Some argue that God’s admonition to not eat of that tree was enough for mankind to make the right decision. But was it?

    Before Satan’s arrival on earth, God supposedly walked with man. If God is unlimited love…and unmitigated truth…and man had no exposure to anything other than that, how could man deal with the first lie? As people who actually live in this pathetic existence, we know from experience to measure what is presented to us against what we know to be true, or alternatively to investigate the veracity of the claim until it can be proven or not. But without that experience, without ever being told what a lie is, how to discern a true statement from a lie or why such inquiry is necessary, Adam and Eve-thus all of mankind, were doomed to death because they never encountered a lie before. They didn’t know to “put on the armor of God.” For that matter, there is nothing explicitly stated in the account of creation or the fall of man that indicates they had any concept of death. The first recorded death in the Bible-human or otherwise-was Cain killing Abel. They didn’t even know what nakedness was until it was too late. God certainly didn’t tell them. How was man in any way equipped to make an informed choice in that matter?

    Ever since then, the scriptural evidence that God cares nothing about the happiness of man is considerable. Based upon the flooding of the earth, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the certain doom to befall the earth in the final days, God has shown mankind to be disposable.

    When it comes to the speed by which He supposedly answers prayers, people say God’s timing governs. I submit it’s easy for Him to drag His feet when all of His bills are paid. He’s never had to deal with disappointment, disillusionment, debt, broken dreams, applying for jobs in vain or any of the things we deal with here. An entity of unlimited wealth like He has no concept of wondering where the rent money will come from or what His purpose in life is supposed to be. One of the cruelest scriptural ironies is when Solomon indicated it was folly to envy the wicked. Who was Solomon? He was the King of Israel and the richest man in the world in his day. This was a man with 700 wives and 300 concubines. There was nothing the wicked had that a) he didn’t already have for himself; b) he couldn’t buy for himself; or c) he couldn’t make the wicked give to him. With his wives and concubines, there was no sexual appetite that couldn’t be sated. Of course it would be folly for HIM to envy the wicked. But those of us who struggle to do the right thing while drug dealers get all the money and women have legit reasons to envy the wicked.

    I never dreamed I would ever get to this point in my spiritual walk. I went from believer and follower of Christ to this because of unanswered prayer. If I prayed for a brand new Ferrari every year, yes, I can see how that would not be high on the priority list. But praying for family to be cured of alcoholism or cancer, or for a job paying more than 30K a year while I have an advanced professional degree, and for whatever flaws to be corrected in case I was not prepared for the things I asked for apparently was not important to Him, either.

    There is too much suffering in this world-on a much greater scale than any disappointment I have suffered-for me to think God cares about us at all.

  8. Ray Fowler says:

    Lawrence – Thank you for taking the time to share. I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment you have experienced in relationship to God. And I am sorry for the damage this has done to your faith along the way. I would probably try to give you a longer answer, but I’m kind of hurting right now myself. But I do believe God cares, and I believe he cares for you. I wish you all the best.

  9. Lawrence Thompson says:

    Well…as strange as this may sound coming from me, I sincerely hope God comes through for you and strengthens and restores your faith. I know from experience a walk in faith can be a very good thing. I take little pleasure in the stance I now have, other than that I advance what I sincerely believe to be true. I do not begrudge anyone who has found their spiritual niche. I hope things turn out well for you.

  10. Ray Fowler says:

    Thanks Lawrence, I appreciate the kind words.

  11. Sharon Gamble says:

    Dear Lawrence (and Ray, actually) – Read SAFELY HOME by Randy Alcorn. Most powerful book I have read in years. Love, Sharon

  12. Ray Fowler says:

    Thanks, Sharon!

Leave a Reply