It's All About Timing

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

Do the righteous deserve to be rewarded for serving God? Do the unrighteous deserve punishment for doing wrong? Be careful how quickly you answer that question, because we often see the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. If God is in control and the wicked are unpunished, is He just? If God is in control and the righteous suffer, is He caring? We often grow frustrated because it seems we don’t get what we feel we deserve while making right choices. We want God to quickly reward us with good results for being kind, honest, or faithful. Many times, though, the benefits of obeying Him are not immediately evident. Conversely, often the people we perceive as selfish, arrogant, unkind, and dishonest seem to get ahead and nothing happens to them. The temptation is to assume that they get away with their sin. Where is the justice in that?

I believe the answer to the question, “Do the righteous get rewarded and the wicked get punished?” is, “In God’s time!” Consider the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. -Hebrews 11:13

They learned of the promises of God, having seen them afar off.
 They were convinced of the truth of the promises,  were persuaded of them.
They welcomed the promises, embraced them.
They chose to identify with the promises of God and live differently than those around them, confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
These folks lived their lives counting on God to deliver on His promises, although the circumstances they experienced were always in contradiction to their belief. Even though they never experienced in this life the full reward for their righteous living, they pressed on. These all died in faith, not having received the promises.

As Christians we recognize what is just and right. We also trust that God is faithful to reward righteousness and punish evildoers. The tension is in the timing. God is in control of results and He knows when and how much reward is appropriate. We become impatient, anticipating the harvest of our good works for ourselves, and the consequences of ungodly actions in others. We wish for quick results. Especially in the midst of a society of instant gratification, it is tough for us to wait on God. We are challenged, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. -Galatians 6:9 Don’t be discouraged and don’t quit doing right! In God’s time we will be rewarded. That time might be in eternity, but those are the rewards that are best!