Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts. But as for me, Lord, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered!
How long must this land mourn? Even the grass in the fields has withered. The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land. For the people have said, “The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!”
[The Lord replied to Jeremiah:] “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you. They plot and raise complaints against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak.”
“Why are the wicked so prosperous?” Jeremiah knew that God’s justice would ultimately come, but he was impatient because he wanted justice to come quickly. Jeremiah wondered why a just God did not immediately punish wicked people.
God didn’t give a theological answer. Instead, he challenged Jeremiah: “If you think this is bad, how are you going to cope when it gets really tough?” If Jeremiah couldn’t handle what was already happening, how would he handle the injustices that were ahead?
It is natural for us to demand fair play and cry for justice against those who take advantage of others. But when we call for justice, we must realize that we ourselves would be in big trouble if God gave each of us what we truly deserve. God’s answers to prayer are not always nice or easy to handle. Any Christian who has experienced war, bereavement, or a serious illness knows this.
We should be committed to God even when the going gets tough and when our prayers for relief are not immediately answered.