Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. Eccleasiastes 4:1-3
I have a friend who serves as a missionary in a third-world country. Not long ago he and his family had to evacuate their home because of political unrest. Rebel forces swept the countryside denouncing the corruption of the present regime and promising that things would change if they came to power. There would be food for all, good jobs, and economic prosperity. In due course the rebels overthrew the government and became the new leaders. What’s it like now? A little bit worse. No one has a job, the average per capita income is less than a dollar a day, and all those rosy promises have been forgotten. To borrow a phrase from American politics, the pigs are still at the trough, only the skinny ones have replaced the fat ones. Otherwise, nothing has changed.
Solomon saw this and bemoaned the corruption of his day. The poor were so downtrodden that it would be better if they had never been born. Job felt the same way (Job 3:3-10).
Because God is sovereign we know that he will eventually win the battle with Satan. And since God lives outside time, the victory is already won in eternity. From our perspective the battle rages all around us, and all too often the bad guys seem to be winning.
A friend whose marriage broke up because of infidelity has grown enormously in her faith, but one question troubles her mind. Why is her ex-husband doing so well? He seems to be so happy despite his sin. Why doesn’t God judge him? It looks to her as if he’s gotten away scot-free. I reminded her that every football game has four quarters. It doesn’t matter who’s winning in the middle of the second quarter or at the end of the third quarter. The only thing that matters is who’s winning at the end of the game. I told her that as far as God is concerned, we’re still in the second quarter. In the end her ex-husband will reap what he has sown. He will live to regret his sin, and if he doesn’t regret it in this life, he certainly will regret it in the next.
This principle applies in every situation where we wonder if truth and justice will prevail. God’s sovereignty guarantees the ultimate victory of good over evil. It’s just that God’s timetable and ours aren’t the same.
My Lord, when I doubt, help me to trust in your ultimate justice while I wait on you to make all things right. Amen.
Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.