So I wait for you like a lonely house, till you will see me again and live in me. Till then my windows ache. —Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets
If I saw a man getting mugged at gunpoint but didn’t do anything, I would miss the opportunity to be heroic, but who would blame me for avoiding harm? And, hey, I called the cops.
However, if an officer arrived but waited to intervene, we’d be a bit perplexed, right? After all, the officer had the power to stop injustice.
Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. (Hebrews 11:36-37a)
These horrific things happened to God’s people, and if you’re like me, you read this and find yourself wondering, “How could God be present with His children but not intervene on their behalf? Who exactly is in charge here?”
Ancient Jews answered the latter question in two ways: angels and humans.
It was a common belief that battles raged between fallen angels and God’s angels, and the prize was an earthly territory. How much governance do angels have? Some degree. We don’t know much more than that.
We also know that mankind was given authority over Creation. This is rooted in Genesis, when God told Adam and Eve to rule over and care for all He has made.
If angels and mankind are exercising a degree of authority over the earth, then what of Jesus? He sits at the right hand of God—a position of power—and yet persecution happens. Is He in complete control or partial control?
He is in complete control, and some of his control has been delegated to others “until.” Persecution continues because Jesus chooses to wait before intervening. But the wait isn’t cruel; it’s rooted in God’s love. To know Him more, we must understand the reason Jesus waits.
Lord, I admit it sounds unloving to standby while your children suffer. My limited understanding wants to know, “How can you watch and not stop it?” Show me your wisdom in the waiting. I’m here, and You indwell me. Empower me to do what can be done in this period of “until.” Amen.