What do we do when justice is not executed as we expected? How do we remain confident when it seems as if our prayers and work are in vain? Working tirelessly to love others and plead the cause of the oppressed feels meaningless when we do not see the fruits of our labor. It is important to address this sense of discouragement.
It can be tempting to blame the Lord for seemingly neglecting justice on earth, especially when we expect it to “roll on like a river” (Amos 5:24). However, we must surrender our own terms and timelines.
Are we to cease defending the vulnerable? By no means! We can still fulfill our call while resting in the Lord’s timing when progress does not come.
Psalm 45:6 expresses, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” We will not always witness justice on this side of Heaven, but we can rest assured that the Lord remains righteous. He will fully deliver justice on the last day. In the meantime, let our prayer be like David’s, “My time is in your hands” (Psalm 31:15).
We see countless examples of justice on God’s timeline in our own culture. Since 1973, many have prayed and pleaded to abolish the horror of abortion. I myself took part in crying out to God on behalf of the unborn. But for forty-eight years, tireless and faithful labor often saw little return. Clearly, the mere efforts and intentions of man did not achieve the victory of Dobbs. The Lord’s timing prevailed.
When Christians fight for the defenseless and the marginalized, we are obeying Scriptural commands. However, it is important to not consequently supersede the Lord and consider ourselves the saviors of the lowly. Our efforts are incomparable to His already-completed work. Will he use us? Absolutely. But our own actions are not the ultimate remedy. The will of man does not determine the justice that God will establish for His own glory.
Final judgment is not dependent on man’s will, but God still hears our cries. The Israelites were enslaved for 400 years—are we to claim that Moses’s efforts in persuading Pharaoh were unheard by God? No! In Exodus 9:16, the Lord explains that he “raised [Pharaoh] up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” The Lord’s “raising up” of Pharaoh illustrates how he uses all circumstances for his glory, and how we can view all things in light of his intentionality.
Henceforth, when we approach justice like Moses—in fervent prayer and a confident demeanor—we seek it with the purpose of glorifying the Almighty.
Psalm 19:9 states that the Lord’s decrees “are firm, and all of them are righteous.” Who are we to declare that His timing is unjust? His ways are higher and holier than ours. The believer must entrust those they defend to the hands of the Father (Romans 11:33-34).
Trusting in the Lord is not to be mistaken for complacency. The Christian should graciously and fervently act against injustice. However, we can simultaneously remain at peace when justice does not come, confident that the Lord’s timing will prevail. Rest is found in the waiting. Our sense of wordly justice is temporary, but his reign is eternal, lasting from now until forevermore.