Waiting is a Worthy Response

Todd Stiles   -  

One of the hardest things to do is wait.

This is especially true in times of injustice, such as when one is suffering for righteousness’ sake or enduring persecution. Plainly put, it seems almost impossible to wait for wrongs to be made right.

James leaned in to to his readers who were wrestling with this very dilemma with this exhortation: “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7). His audience was watching unfair treatment occur (5:1-6), even experiencing it. It appears there was little they could do to affect change. In the midst of this firestorm, James urges them towards patience (5:8). Yes, towards enduring with an eye to the Lord’s return. Essentially, waiting, as difficult as it is, is part of the equation of justice.

The fact that waiting is a worthy response to injustice does not preclude the reality that working for justice is also a proper response. Many Scriptures call us to this exact kind of action, especially Micah 6:8. I believe this is not only a God-given instruction, but a divinely created instinct. It is innate to the human nature, when unfairness and injustice arise, to fight against it. Let’s never excuse passivity by calling it patience.

But even the most worthwhile activity won’t produce ultimate justice. Frankly, though working for immediate justice is good and proper, there is no guarantee that all will be made right in the here-and-now by our actions. That will only happen when Jesus returns and consummates his kingdom.

That’s why waiting is a worthy response. It reminds us, even in our necessary pursuit of immediate justice, that we’re not powerful enough to produce it perfectly or ultimately. Only Jesus can do that, and he has promised, when he returns in power and glory, to do exactly that when he “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

That’s what we’re waiting on, and that’s who we’re waiting for. Ultimate justice from the perfectly just One.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.