Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account– Hebrews 4:13 NIV
Fairness, justice, equity are more than just woke talking points.
They are a big stinking deal.
They are a big deal in a global sense. Every human being, no matter who they are or where they live wants the world to be fair and just. Civilized people want evil to be punished and good rewarded. No decent person wants anyone to be denied a fair shot at life. All people want the same rules to apply to everyone regardless of gender, race or social status (Proverbs 21:15). It’s simply how humans are wired (Genesis 1:27).
Fairness, justice and equity are also a big deal in a personal sense.
We all want to know when someone harms us or treats us unfairly some authority somewhere will see to it the wrong is righted and the wrongdoer is punished. We all want to be treated equally and fairly. We want to be judged by the content of our character rather than by our age, the color of our skin, our gender, marital status or job title.
For Christians the longing for fairness, justice and equity goes beyond the global or even the personal. These issues can be so deeply spiritual they impact our view of God as just and fair. We all know we serve a God who is both the architect and the ultimate champion of equity, justice and fairness (Psalm 11:7, Psalm 50:6, Psalm 103:6, Psalm 67:4). As God’s people it is important to know God sees us in a personal way. We want to know He is aware of the wrongs committed against us. Whether we are honest enough to admit we all want God to care enough about us personally to punish those who have sinned against us or caused us harm in some way (Deuteronomy 32:43).
It’s called being human.
Christians rarely talk much about it, but most go through a season where they struggle to see and experience the goodness of God in a personal way. Due to painful circumstances these folks can’t help but wonder if God really does see them and if He really does care about what they are experiencing.
Doubt isn’t always simply due to lack of faith.
Sometimes our doubt is due to what feels like a tardy response from God (2nd Peter 3:8). Times of doubt tend to occur when we really feel the NEED to know God is attentive to our situation and cares about the details of our pain, loss or the oppression we are dealing with. I call these times “seasons of silence”. A season of silence is a time when God feels far away. Because God feels far away our pain or loss feels utterly unbearable. In order to survive a season of silence a Christian has to have a theology of pain. We have to understand what the Bible says about God so we are not left to rely on our feelings without the guidance of His word (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 119:105).
Anytime God feels distant and uninterested in our problems it’s critical we remember first and foremost, we are not the only people who have felt the way we feel. Some of God’s best and brightest, including David, Elijah, Daniel, Moses, Mary Magdalene and even Jesus went through an experience or season where they felt God was far away, uninterested in their situation, hadn’t heard their prayers or was simply inattentive at the point of their deepest need (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46, Daniel 10:1-18, Exodus 5:1-19, John 20:11). We are fortunate to see those stories in the rear-view so we know God has never actually abandoned anyone in their greatest need.
We also need to remember we live in a world broken by sin (Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1). On a practical level this means evil, unjust and unfair things happen all the time. People lie, take advantage of others, oppress people and cover-up their own sin at the expense of others (2nd Timothy 3:1-4). Sometimes it appears God has chosen to overlook the sin of those who willfully do wrong.
Here’s the thing though:
Justice delayed does not mean justice will be denied indefinitely. God promises there will come a day when every wrong will be righted and every sin punished (Hebrews 12:23, Exodus 32:34, Leviticus 26:27-29, Isaiah 13:11, 1st Thessalonians 4:6). God is so not okay with sin, evil and disobedience He punished the Israelites for their idolatry and sexual sin by sending them into servitude and exile for seventy years in Babylon. God later punished Babylon for the sins committed against Israel while they were in exile (Jeremiah 25:12). Babylon was a very short-lived super-power entirely because God cannot bear to see injustice go unpunished. It is wisdom to remember there is nothing in all of creation that goes unnoticed or undealt with by God (Hebrews 4:13).
God sometimes defers justice to wrongdoers simply because He is merciful and good (Genesis 15:16, Exodus 34:6, Nahum 1:3, 2nd Peter 3:9 and he doesn’t want anyone to perish in their sin). Therefore God graciously gives even the worst of the worst time to get their heart right and repent before the consequences train comes rolling into town (Matthew 10:26, Hebrews 4:13).
Our responsibility during a season of silence is to remember the goodness of God, to be merciful like God is merciful and to pray for those who have sinned against us as we wait on God to do what he promises to do (Matthew 5:44). God has a way of rewarding that kind of faith and the reward is always worth the pain.