Job’s Groan for Justice

by Timothy Shorey
May 3, 2022

“From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God charges no one with wrong” (Job 24:12).

Job’s complaint reflects what is often our perception of life in this fallen world. People groan and cry for help as they are truly oppressed, shamefully abused, horrifically trafficked, falsely accused, publically humiliated, virally bullied, truly persecuted, indifferently dismissed, or violently gunned down—and yet God seems to charge no one with wrongdoing.

In other words, it seems like evildoers get away with evil, and even God doesn’t seem to care. And so it will always seem, for it is not God’s plan to rid the world of injustice in this age, or to explain his silence to us. Yet God’s apparent indifference is only apparent. It is not real. Although the closure of true justice almost never happens here and now, God would have us know that it will happen there and then (Rom. 12:19; 2 Thess. 1:5—10; Rev. 6:9—11). Believe me: The Judge of all the earth will more than even the score.

So while we must groan with those who groan (and groan we must; see Rom. 8:18—23; 12:15; Rev. 6:10), and while we must try to do whatever biblical justice for others we can do in a fallen world, we are not wise to expect it for ourselves. I do not say this glibly, but with a heart that aches for justice to be done, for wrongs to be made right, and for unrepentant evildoers to get their due.

But brother and sister: the best biblically guided response to injustice and delayed justice is not inward ever-escalating indignation, or outward ever-obsessing activism, or upward ever-questioning doubt; but a humble and desperate willingness to let God handle it when he is ready, and to entrust ourselves to his faithful and tender care (1 Peter 2:19—23; 4:12—19).

Like with Job, so with us: this is no easy calling. But if we do not have a healthy and functioning category for the still delayed, but soon-to-arrive full, fierce, and final justice of God, bitterness will poison our joy, and hope will give way to Job-like despair.

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