Monday, April 8, 2013

A Graduate Course In Justice 2

Emblème de la Justice
Months ago, I was visited by a dear sister (read the whole story here). Sad and sick and shuddering with betrayal, she told me a story.  She had been outdone by a coworker for a coveted promotion and by the dirtiest of dirty tricks.  She held within her hand proof of her rival's dishonesty but God's word stands true: "a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just" (Exodus 23:8). We read a Psalm, we prayed, we cried and she continued to work everyday with people she knew to have betrayed her trust and their own honor.

Much more recently she brought up a problem one day at church.  She struggled to find the balance of God's authority in the world and the world's frank corruption.  She suggested that perhaps where the people do not know God, God does not actually rule. She had in her mind, I know, not only last year's humiliation but a family history well acquainted with disaster both natural and man-made.  The idea of a limitless God, unbounded by our faith, was almost too much to bear in the light of so much suffering in her world. 

I can understand.  The hardest things to sort out are the almost truths.  God is self-limiting.  He will not violate the free-will of individuals.  If we choose to harden our hearts he will choose not to break in on us (Romans 1:18-32, Hebrews 3:7-19). So in some sense, he cannot rule hearts that reject him.  He limits himself.  

He also allows the natural consequences of other people's evil to intrude upon us.  Christians are persecuted the world over for a crime no greater than their faith.  God does not protect each one of them from the effects of the world's rage.  The martyrs still cry from under the alter, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10) 

Still we must affirm-no matter how the world denies it-Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3). We are waiting together with him for the day when his enemies will be made his footstool (Psalms 110:1).  He is the King promised in Psalms 2-he has been given the rod of iron and the nations have been warned that they must "Kiss the Son!" One day soon, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). Some will confess in wonder and some in horror, I expect, but all shall confess!  

Even now in His power, God works good for his scattered children.  My sister met me on the street.  She was taking an after dinner stroll with her husband. The two of them have been praying.  As he's never been a believer that itself is an answer to prayer.  She said that they have bowed their heads over their clasped hands and begged God for his aid, humbled themselves under his hands and forgave those who worked so desperately against her.  

It's promotion time again at work.  Her name is on the list this time.  She'll be getting the raise her family needs and the status she has long deserved.  More than that, the hand of God is clearly at work; she and her husband can both see it. Standing there on the sidewalk, the two of us were whispered with wonder.  God is Lord of the living and the dead.  He does rule-in our hearts and in this broken and lost world.  He hears our prayers and serves out justice now or later! We hugged, we sighed and we marveled at the amazing God we serve. 

As another friend said to me lately, "I often thank God but sometimes I forget to tell him 'Good job!'"  Share with us in the comments. We'd love to hear more ways that our amazing God is reaching down into the world and declaring that he is in truth victorious!
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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