Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18
It’s important to reflect on living in light of God’s greater story around the world when we think of living our personal stories. As Christ followers, we are not designed to live in isolation but in connection to God, people, and His mission. The accounts of men, women, and children finding faith in Jesus and growing in the knowledge of Him provide evidence that the Great Commission is being fulfilled (Matthew 28:18-20). We will worship around the throne of God with people from every tribe, people, and nation.
The middle east is an area of the world God placed in my heart a number of years ago. The scattering of people due to war, persecution, and hardship creates space for those from Muslim backgrounds with little or no access to the Gospel to hear about the Risen One. I travel each year to Athens, Greece to reach out to refugees and recently returned. I visited for a weekend with Ashlee a dear sister in Christ who labors in this part of the world; to hear her amazing story of how she followed the Lord, listen to our conversation on the Sacred Story podcast.
I can’t wrap my mind around the injustice accompanying the stories of refugees.
*Forced to decide which child to bring on the journey and which to leave in the care of others when fleeing
*Forced to flee because terrorists are demanding skills and expertise to be employed on their behalf
*Forced to entrust an 11-year-old son to a stranger so he can make it to a stable country in hopes of allowing the remainder of the family to join in the future
*A former lawyer, college student, doctor, having little prospect of employment, much less the ability to use or continue their training
*Forced from Iraq and unable to return because there’s nothing but rubble
*Unable to obtain medical care in Athens for a 12-year old daughter who suffers from a nerve condition which hinders her from walking correctly
*Untimely losses: a young man who lost his wife and 3-month old daughter in the war, a family whose father was murdered by the Taliban
*Forced to leave Iran because having an opinion about the lyrics of music threatens the government
*A woman who finds herself divorced in Iran and without the ability to see her children because women have no legal rights in such matters
Iran is one of the places where the underground church is growing the fastest; as history and the Bible describe, the injustice of persecution speeds the spread of the Gospel.
In the confusion of overwhelming heart break, where is the justice of God? How do we think about God being just? Merriam Webster defines just as “acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good.” God’s character remains just: He is acting and abiding by what is good and correct. He cannot do otherwise. When we live in a world of sin, decay, and evil, it feels like justice is not served. Yet God’s Word declares a long view of justice is needed. Isaiah 30:18 printed at the top says those who wait for God are blessed.
God set in motion His justice from the beginning of time. He could not allow people’s rebellion against Him known as sin and His perfection known as His holiness to coexist. His plan to take away mankind’s sin through the sacrifice of His Son manifested over centuries. The cross proved God’s commitment to being just. Jesus hung on the cross as punishment for our sin; as His blood poured out, the wrath of God was satisfied. He dealt justly with our sin by conforming to His perfect standard in judging sin and extending forgiveness through belief in Jesus. He invites you and me into a personal relationship through faith where there is no condemnation for sin. Hallelujah! We will celebrate His victory in the resurrection at Easter. If you have questions about faith and forgiveness, contact me.
Believing our God is a God of justice means the Greatest Story Ever Told isn’t over. We wait for ultimate justice to be carried out when evil is done away with and every tear is wiped away (Revelation 21-22). God’s greater story around the world reminds us that we live in the midst of a grand epic. Let’s call out to Him for justice, trusting He is answering.
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Isaiah 30:19