God’s great redemption story


Habakkuk's Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
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.

The Lord's Answer

"Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.

For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.

Habakkuk 1:2-5

A friend shared these verses with me a few days ago, and its words resonated with me. I understood the pain and confusion behind this prophet's complaint because it has also been my complaint before the Lord many times since first arriving in Bangkok.

Coming to Thailand has greatly tested my faith in God. Not in the way that I doubted His existence, because I had experienced Him in my life several times before, but more in the way that I became unsure of His power. I believed God is all omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; He is all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere. At least I wanted to believe that here, but sometimes that proved to be difficult.

As I looked out onto the crowds of people filling the streets of the red-light districts, the women and ladyboys in skimpy outfits with only a number versus a nametag, and children sitting on the side of the road begging for money, I wondered if God knew the depravity occurring in humanity. I would stare into the crowds of people only to see emptiness and question, "God, do You know what is happening here? Can You see the pain of Your people?" Often I would want to answer that question for Him myself. "No, I don't think You do."

But I know that He does. Really, He does. "Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. 'For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe, even if you were told.'" One of the reasons I love God is because I do not understand Him. If He was a God who could fit inside my head, what need would there be to worship Him? Yet I am unable to comprehend His majesty nor His mind. I am constantly being reminded of this verse while working in this ministry, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts '"(Isaiah 55:8-9). It's a humble reminder that my plans for redemption and healing for this nation are nothing compared to the ones God has in store.

I have come to know that God does see what is happening, He knows and it does sadden Him. He is not sitting idly by, but has been working since the beginning to redeem us for Himself. Scripture has always been written in the context of victory. By Jesus we will overcome. Though I may not see it or understand it now, it is coming.

I always think of the image of a stage with its curtains drawn. As I sit there as an audience member waiting for the show to start, I don't realize that the work has been going on hours, days, even months in advance. I only get to see a glimpse of it. God is backstage right now, working in His people in ways I do not understand and might never be able to. As I wait for His show to start, I forget that He has been setting it up all the while.

And until that day comes, we have been given the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. He has chosen to work through us, and so we will be the ones through whom people have interactions with God. If I want people to see the love God has for them, I have to be the one to show them. I only pray that when I do show these individuals love that they will not see me, but Christ in me.

Being in Bangkok has tested my faith, but it has also strengthened it. I still believe God is all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere. I believe that He sees His children and wants more for them. He wants more for the young guys, transgendered and females who have been sexually exploited, and He wants more for the persons who've exploited and dishonored them. In Christ there is hope of redemption for all. No one is too far from His reach. God desires for all to know His love and His grace. My desire is simply to do my part in His great story of redemption, for this nation and every nation.

Stacie Aguilar is serving as a student missionary in Thailand with Go Now Mission.
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