“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. “ 1 Peter 5:6,7
Well, I’ve been learning that You, Lord, will vindicate Your children. And You vindicate Your children because we are Your representatives of Your Son on this earth. And You will vindicate Your Son. You have already, and You will continually. So as long as I remain in Him and am walking in Him by the power of Your Holy Spirit and Your presence (and His presence) in me, I know vindication is coming.
Yes, vindication is coming, but I’m still learning about when Your vindication comes, and why it comes, and who it comes from, and how it comes. Yesterday I learned, or rather re-learned, that vindication comes from You and You alone. I can’t bring my own vindication. But that was only one of seven things I need to know and understand about vindication, about being validated, justified, upheld, rectified, or exonerated. What else should I know?
Vindication comes in God’s time. That means that I must wait on You, Lord, as long as it takes. I have these verses on my wall from Habakuk 2:3,4; 3:17-19. These words are very strong and they’re very sad but at the same time they give me immense hope because my hope goes beyond my situation and my hope stretches to You, Lord, and You alone. My hope stretches to the depth of You. Listen, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith…Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.” Could I wait and wait and wait through a situation like that and still rejoice? I mean, think about those words.
Has God given me a vision? Has He begun something in me? But does it seem long in coming to fruition or in being answered? And maybe this isn’t the best example because Israel was going to receive correction. But this part of the message is all about God’s coming vindication. But who would vindication come to? The one who faithfully keeps their hope in the Lord. It will come to the one that expects salvation from God alone, to the one who relies on You, Lord, for their strength in the midst of every weakness no matter how great. So this does pertain, tremendously to me and to others today. Because there are always some righteous taken along with the unrighteous. Only there will be full vindication for the righteous. But when?
Wait for it. Wait for it. Sometimes that’s the answer. I don’t know when the answer is going to come to fruition, but I wait and I rejoice in my God in the meantime. No one said it would be easy. Jesus said it wouldn’t be. But it’s the way. It’s right. It’s the truth that will set us free. Well, it’s part of that truth. So, what could this “due time” or this “appointed time” look like in my life or someone else’s?
Let’s step back in Scripture again. Wait for it. Wait for it. Let’s go to Luke 16:19-25 and read the account of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man that You, Lord Jesus, shared for our benefit. “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.'” Wow! How does that encourage me? So much for immediate gratification.
Maybe that’s the problem. I’m so focussed on this immediate gratification, immediate answers to prayer, immediate deliverance. Funny thing is that You, Jesus, had to wait 30 years for Your vindication. And let me think about that because You are God. Now here is this rich man who is definitely receiving his immediate gratification. And it’s all about himself. He’s got all these resources that You have supplied him with. And outside his door is this poor beggar named Lazarus. And he’s just asking for crumbs. Now, I know from the Old Testament that Your heart goes out to the poor. You even established that the gleaners in the field would leave a portion behind so the poor could come and gather food after them. So I know it’s on Your heart that this rich man shares some of his “gleaning” with Lazarus. But his heart isn’t toward Lazarus and his heart isn’t toward You. And it might have seemed like You forgot about Lazarus, I mean, after all, You let him get in this condition. But You never forgot about Lazarus and You were watching over him all the time.
How do I know that You didn’t forget about Lazarus? Because You were ready and waiting for him to come home. You sent Your angels for him. You carried him to Abraham. You provided better for him than he ever could have had on earth. But that’s not all. You truly vindicated him. You gave him a name written down in history forever for generation after generation to know. The rich man has no name. He lost everything he had acquired on his own. Lazarus was with Abraham above so he gained an elevated position. In due time, You exalted him. The rich man was cast down into Hades. No more pleasure for him, but now a life in torment, begging for water, begging for his brethren. But Lazarus was no longer to be a servant to the rich man. Everything had turned. Vindication had come. But there was a long, hard wait. But I’ll tell you one thing, Lord, it was worth it!
I just can’t help think how well this relates with 1 Peter. If I go to verse five, I am reminded, “Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” (part B) So the question is, am I humble enough to subject myself to others and especially to subject myself to Your timing, Your choices, Lord, for my life? Could I be a faithful Lazarus? Or can I stay true to You with a clean heart and clean hands in the midst of it all?
Who ever said that faith was supposed to be easy? Paul didn’t say that. Jesus, You Yourself didn’t say that. Because without faith it is impossible to please You, for whoever would draw near to You must believe that You are everything You say You are, that You are the Ever Existent One who is Ever in Control of Everything, and that You reward and even vindicate those who diligently, with all their being worship and obey You. See, faith isn’t about immediate gratification, it’s knowing that the things You have promised, that every promise You’ve given us about You and in You is going to come to fruition. I don’t have to see it to believe it. Believing is walking in it until that one day when I am fully there.
Maybe today was kind of a weird combination. Because today I know that vindication will always come in Your perfect timing for me, Lord. And that’s because You really do have everything under control. And I know that You tremendously love me. There is never a time when You forget me, even in my suffering. And You will release me when that release brings the most glory to You and the sweetest release to me. And in the midst of it all, while I have to wait for it, and wait for it, You are still at work in me and around me. In me, You are building my faith. You’re teaching me to learn to wait dependently and full of hope and joy in You, just like Jesus. Now, if I didn’t have to go through the things You teach me about in Your Word, how would I ever be able to shout in joy in unison with those others who You have made to stand strong and firm? And I’m learning that that is a beautiful thing. Because we don’t stand alone. How many are going through this right now? But You have prepared us. You have not left us alone. And You are with us in the midst of it all and You will carry us into Your vindication at the right time. Wait for it. Wait for it. It will come in God’s perfect time.