“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
It is one thing to believe God is just, to be assured God will bring justice to those bringing trouble on God’s people. But it is entirely another thing to wait for God’s timing in bringing about His heavenly payback.
Make no mistake, it will happen. The day will come when God’s just judgment is made known. The Lord will be revealed. There will be blazing fire and powerful angelic beings. The persecuted believers in Thessalonica will be given “relief” while those who troubled the church will be punished with eternal destruction by being “shut out from the presence of the Lord.”
The difficulty for many believers is waiting on God’s timing for all of this to happen. When people trouble the church, we want instant justice. We want relief and we want it now! This desire for instant justice may be magnified by our “instant-everything” culture, but it is nothing new. Perhaps the most relevant illustration of the ancient desire for timely justice is Psalm 40 which provides the lyrics for U2’s signature song, 40.
The more impatient we become with God’s timing, the more likely we are to take matters into our own hands and dish out some destruction of our own by shutting out people from the presence of God. And we feel so much better when we have finished shutting them out. You might say we feel “relief.” But when Jesus comes, he is coming to receive glory and praise from His people. Some will be among those praising Him when He returns, others will not.
Do we really bring honor and glory to God when we cannot trust Him to bring about justice at the right time? Can we praise Jesus as Lord and at the same time determine that we must manufacture our own relief rather than patiently waiting for Him to provide? Is it possible to declare His majesty while we grow so impatient waiting for Him to act that we seize control and shut people out of God’s presence? How can we honor God when we are so consumed with ourselves?
I do not know when, but I am sure the day is coming. And when He comes, I want to be among those praising Him, even if that means trusting His timing rather than my own. I guess it comes down to a matter of who is the focal point of my faith. Is it God? Or is it me?
I want to be among those praising Him.