Lament is a healthy practice in the normal Christian life. Every generation and every people group have challenges, injustices, and disasters that make them turn to God, and with pain in their voice, ask Him, “Why God? How long will You allow this to last?”
No matter how strong our faith or how deep our personal relationship with Christ is, it’s only natural to get frustrated with this fallen world. In fact, more than just being neutral, you ought to be angry with the sinfulness of this world. At times, Christ became angry, He wept, and He mourned the brokenness around Him. Therefore, to be Christlike means, at times, that you too should become angry, weep, and mourn the brokenness around you. Sometimes, you should ask, “Why God? How long will You allow this to last?” And when you do, be sure to see how God and His Word answer you.
The Hour Has Not Yet Come
Although we can never know the day or the hour of how long God will allow this present suffering to last, we can find many comforting assurances in Scripture. Sometimes you just have to read closely and patiently flesh out what the Bible says to its logical conclusions. Such is the case for Revelation 14:14–16.
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
In this passage, and the rest of chapter 14, John conveys the coming harvests of wrath that he saw in his vision. But, an important point for us to notice of those future judgements is they are just that—in the future. While judgement does play out in front of us throughout our lives, those moments are only partial judgements. Not until an angel pronounces God’s message that, “the hour to reap has come” will the world experience a total judgement.
Until that day, we live in waiting. Until that day, injustices will go unpunished. Until that day, because the hour to reap has not yet come, we will always have reasons to cry out, “Why God?”
Delight and the Sovereignty of God
Knowing that the time of final judgement is still in the future can be frustrating in certain ways. It’s easy to see how much evil takes place in the world and begin questioning why God hasn’t yet returned. Aren’t things already bad enough? Do we have to wait while things continue to get worse?
There are a lot of unanswered questions in the pain of this world. But, part of the answers we do have comes from the goodness that we experience on this earth. Even in the midst of natural disasters, war, and economic disparity, God still wants us to enjoy His creation. God delights in us when we laugh, feast, and enjoy a beautiful work of art. If someone focuses only on the bad and refuses to find the joy in this life, then not only are they going to quickly fall into despair, they’re also refusing to see God as present and acknowledge the goodness that still exists within His creation.
Another piece of the puzzle that helps answer those who question why God doesn’t simply come with judgement now is obvious but also comforting—He is God, and they are not. He is sovereign, and His ways are higher than ours. Just because we can’t see the reason why God is withholding His hand of wrath doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a reason. Caution should be used, as it can be harmful if one off-handedly refers to God’s sovereignty as a reason to ignore or minimize the suffering taking place in this world. But even so, it can also be harmful to ignore the sovereignty of God when talking about why God hasn’t already brought His wrath upon the earth.
Recognizing that perfect judgement and justice will come doesn’t take away the pain of today. It’s okay to still weep and lament. Jesus did it, the psalmists did it, and we can do it. But don’t forget to also find joy in this world, press into the comforting knowledge of God’s sovereignty, and believe that someday God’s perfect wrath will come to conquer all the evil of this world.