How long, O Lord!

Revelation 5:1-10
Two steps forward. Three steps back. That’s how it feels sometimes,

As history marches on, we learn new things about the world and our life in it. Think of how technology boomed so much more over the last one hundred years than ever before. New ideas and new ways develop every generation. These would be unimaginable to previous generations.

Yet, with all that we’ve learned, we’re still fighting many of our same battles. Recently, I heard someone speak against an anti-racism effort. Yes, people don’t like that there are on-going battles against prejudice and discrimination. The argument was we’ll never not have racism.

Forgive me, but that’s foolish. We’ll always have sickness. So, do we quit trying to develop new forms of treatment?

Racism is only one example. I’m sure you can think of many more. We still create war. We still allow for poverty. We do know it is possible to feed everyone on the planet. We’re just not willing.

Yes, I know things are not what they used to be. By and large, we are more healthy and stable. Still, we lust for power and fight for unworthy causes. Children are still abused, trafficked and even killed. How long, O Lord!

If you’ve ever asked that of God, you’re in good company, of course. Believers have always cried out to God. We may also see it in John’s vision in Revelation.

In Revelation 5, John’s vision begins to take more shape. So far, the worship around the throne has enraptured him. Now, he begins to see something else. God holds a scroll. We can tell its importance by noticing three details. There is writing on the inside and on the back. Also, seven seals keep it locked. Finally, there is no one worthy to open it.

John’s response is telling. He wept bitterly because of this. Why? That’s a Bible study question that can offer several interpretations.

I take it to mean he weeps because if the scrolls aren’t open, God’s judgment can’t come. That would mean the saints of God would continue to suffer. There would be no end to what they have to endure. But an elder around the throne assured John he could hope. There is one, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who can open the scroll. He did! The Lion is also the Lamb that seems to be slaughtered. God’s judgment is sure.

Of course, we know John’s vision didn’t put an end to suffering and violence. People still mock when God’s people seek peace over power and control. God’s promise, though, is that Christ’s life is enough. And God hears the prayers of the saints.

We trust God will reorder all of Creation to perfect peace. In the meantime, we endure. We can overcome the evil we see in the world with the goodness of God. When it seems like we can’t, we keep trusting God can.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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