How Long?

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?
Revelation 6:9-10 (NIV)

Most parents will agree that taking a long trip in the family car with young children can be a difficult feat to accomplish. In modern society, trips in the car with children can be accomplished with ease. Many family vans come equipped with DVD players to entertain young minds.

For the children of parents without such luxuries, however, long trips can be painful. It is then that parents start hearing that dreaded question, "Are we there yet?" Children want to get out of the car and run and play. The confinement bores them and causes them to want to be "there" sooner rather than later.

Have you ever considered the notion that there may be impatient people in heaven? I know that certain individuals may think that impatience is sin and there is no sin in heaven. But more gracious parents recognize that the children's question, "Are we there yet?" is not a sin although it is indicative of impatience with the wait.

So it is in heaven. Some people seem anxious to have the Lord get on with certain things here on earth. Our verses speak of martyrs in heaven asking the Lord when He will avenge their deaths.

Clearly people in heaven have knowledge of what is happening on earth. Our dead loved ones know about things that are happening, or not happening, on earth. In Matthew 17 we read of Moses and Elijah visiting earth to speak with Jesus—about His coming death—in Jerusalem. Our verses for today and this scene in Matthew make it clear that those who have gone to heaven still have an active interest in this world.

The martyrs came to the Lord and asked about when He would act on earth against evil. They were comforted and told to wait a little while longer and justice would be done.

So it is with us today. We often come to the Lord and ask when He will right the wrongs that we see all around us. The answer to the martyrs is one for us as well. The Lord will certainly bring justice to this world in His time.

How long? We don't know. What we can be certain of is that justice will reign. Meanwhile the Lord asks us to be patient until the day He reveals Himself to all creation and the whole earth will then bow before His glory.

James 5:7-9 (NIV)

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

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