Read Psalm 10.
“Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).
I’ve asked these questions before. My words may have been slightly different, but I felt the same hole in my gut. When we have been treated harshly or unjustly, we want God to move, to act on our behalf, and if He doesn’t, it can feel like He’s abandoned us. But God is never really gone.
What the apostle Paul told those gathered at the Areopagus in Athens is true: “He is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27). That is good news for the hurting and the broken, even as we wait for the day when God will make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
The waiting itself can be the hardest part. We are not alone in our sadness and in our desire to see God move. The book of Revelation includes a heavenly scene in which saints who have lost their lives for the sake of the gospel cry out with one voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:10).
This can quickly become the daily refrain of all who’ve suffered loss: “How long, Sovereign Lord? How long?”
While we wait, those who treat others cruelly and with indifference imagine there is no day of reckoning coming. “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will ever shake me.’ He swears, ‘ No one will ever do me harm’” (Psalm 10:6). Neither statement is true. Whether in this life or the next, judgment is coming.
But how long?
God has an answer for those martyred saints gathered under the altar in heaven. He has an answer for the arrogant and wicked who imagine there is no God. He has an answer for you and me. “They were told to wait a little while longer” (Revelation 6:11). In a little while, Jesus will return. In a little while, the kingdom of God will come in its fullness. In a little while, this world will be made right.
God could just wipe away the wicked in an instant. So why doesn’t He? It’s because every saint is formed from a wicked person who has died to their sin. The humble were once proud. The peacemakers were once murderers. The generous were once gluttons. The faithful were once adulterous. When judgment day comes, the time to turn to God will be over.
The psalmist pleads with God, “Arise LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless” (Psalm 10:12). God will arise. There is coming a day when all will be made right. Light will no longer mingle with darkness. Sin will no longer be tolerated. But we must wait just a little while longer. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).