Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Justice in the Long Haul

One of the frequently asked questions on Alpha courses in the session on 'Evil' is 'why does God allow bad regimes to remain in power'. Of course it is a good question, with plenty of examples of dodgy regimes to cite through history and in the current day.

My own remarks in response would be to point to the examples that show regimes suddenly collapsing, noting the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of apartheid as two examples. Both happened after years of heartache and campaigning, but eventually seemed to end as if overnight.

The Old Testament prophets suggested this as well, looking to and predicting God's justice that would see wicked regimes fall away. How many of those prophets didn't see the full outcome in their lifetime, or only after some considerable years of waiting?

The underlying point is of course that God sees and acts in the long haul - acting in timescales that sometimes span generations compared with our 'why not this year?' approach. Our lives are but a breath, but we seem to expect everything to happen in our breath! God is at work in the bigger picture, the long haul. That is hard for us to understand, and the implications leave us with many screams of 'why?' and 'how long, O Lord?', but surely we have to learn to trust that when comparing us as finite with God everlasting who sees generations come and go, that He surely knows better.

History demonstrates that as well as generations passing, regimes also come and go. Bad regimes do end! Perhaps some years beyond the point at which the majority of the world (or ordinary decent people) figured they should be over, but nonetheless they do end. Events in Africa this week will surely be added to the list of examples to give in response to that legitimate question by a faith-enquirer ...