The first verses of our first reading from the book of Habakkuk take us right into age old questions such as “Why do bad things happen to good people?,” and “If there is a God, why does He allow evil to exist?”. These questions are age old precisely because there is no answer other than the answer that comes from our faith. One thing we can be sure of, however, is that the scriptures do not run away from these questions, they do not pretend that they are not there. Rather, they delve right into them as does Habakkuk today, as does the entire book of Job, etc. etc. The fear that I have is that people who are forced into dealing with these questions in an experiential way will make the only fatal mistake that can be made with regard to living the life of faith. That is, they will give up. At some point in their struggle they will conclude that there cannot be a God, and they will give up the chance to meet Him, perhaps when they, unbeknownst to them, were just about to meet Him. One of my favorite scripture stories (and I know I say this quite often) is the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. Jacob wrestled with the angel all night long because he guessed that there must be a blessing on the other side of the struggle, so he did not give up. In the end, you might say the angel gave up. He knocked Jacob’s hip out of its socket and gave Jacob a blessing. For the rest of his life Jacob walked differently, and not just because his hip was displaced. He had found God and finally fully believed in him. His journey parallels our own. It might seem as if we also are in a lifelong struggle with the Lord, but our hope must be that it all ends in a blessing. It is my firm conviction that any one who promises him or herself that they will all always pursue the truth and never give up in doing so will eventually find God in His time and will walk differently because of it. So please, never give up! And so you might say, “How can I persevere when I see evil and violence all around me? How can there be a God in the midst of all this darkness and evil?” My best response to you is this: How in a world of darkness and evil is there any good at all? Why do you do good deeds? Why do others do good? Why have people done good for you? The point of course is this. If the existence of evil leads us to question the existence of God, then shouldn’t the existence of good lead us to conclude that, at least perhaps, God is? And so, good people, go on with your struggle and never give up. The Lord’s blessing awaits you.