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IF GOD IS JUST, WHY DOES HE WAIT?!

The psalmist wailed to God in agony, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Psalm 42:9 – English translation).

If God is just, why does He wait?  Why doesn’t He execute justice upon the evil all around us?  Doesn’t He care?  What’s He waiting for!? 

He waits, not because He doesn’t care, as the waiting might often make us think.  Instead, he waits for just the opposite reason; He waits because He does care.  He waits because He’s merciful and He loves us.  How can that possibly be?  How can the fact that He seems to turn a blind eye to the injustice, oppression, and afflictions we suffer actually be an example of His love and mercy?

Let me try to explain.  He’s waiting for us to come to our senses and repent before He executes the justice that a righteous Judge has to bring.   

God will definitely act and put an end to all the evil.  We have the unshakable assurance that He’ll comfort all who mourn, and He’ll bless everyone who has been persecuted for the sake of righteousness (Matthew 5:4, 10).  But the sobering question we need to ask ourselves is this:  on which side of the scales of justice will we find ourselves standing when the judgment finally comes? 

So long as I set my own standard and decide by myself what’s right and fair, then I have nothing to worry about.  I’ll always see myself as either just or justified in whatever I’ve done.  And when it comes to the afflictions I’ve endured at the hands of others, I’ll always see myself as an innocent victim.  

But what if my perceptions are off?  What if my own conduct hasn’t been as just as I assume.  What if I’m measured according to a different standard?  And even though I’ve suffered unjust afflictions and evil at the hands of others, what if I’ll be held accountable for the evil I’ve done, and for the afflictions I’ve caused others to endure?  Maybe it’s good that God hasn’t brought about His justice just yet.

Throughout the ages, people have known the two-fold agony of suffering affliction, and of feeling as though God has forgotten all about them.  Like the writer of the psalm I quoted above, we desperately cry out, “Why have You forgotten me?” And even those who profess no faith in God at all still demand to know, “If there’s a God, why doesn’t He do something?  What’s He waiting for?!” 

A Jewish man named Peter who followed Jesus as his Messiah and who suffered greatly for his beliefs wrote to fellow believers and fellow sufferers nearly 2,000 years ago.  He offered an explanation for why God seemed to be slow to fulfill His promise to stop the evil and bring about a righteous end.  “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  It’s a disturbing thought, but maybe God is waiting for you and me. 

It’s actually a bit ironic.  We cry out to God, “How long!?”  But at the same time, God is crying out to us, “How long!?”

How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded?  And scoffers delight in scoffing.  And fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:22)

I have no doubt that on March 13, 1977, many people around the world were enduring great hardships and unjust afflictions.   I have no doubt that many people around the world were feeling abandoned and forgotten by God.  I have no doubt that many cried out earnestly, even desperately, for God to put an end to their suffering by slaying the wicked with the rod of His mouth and the breath of His lips (Isaiah 11:4).  But I’m glad that He didn’t heed those pleas on March 13, 1977.  You see, I didn’t come to my senses and repent until March 14th, 1977.

God was merciful and waited for me.  So now, I wait, even though it’s so terribly hard.  I wait and endure while God waits for others.  Are you, like me, one of the many who’ve already come to our senses and repented?  Then let’s lean on His grace and endure by His power while He waits for others, just like He waited for us. 

Or, are you one of the ones for whom God still waits?

Thank you for reading.  I’ll welcome your thoughts on what I’ve written above.

Avi Snyder

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