for your redemption draweth nigh."
- Luke 21:28
In all of our looking about upon the evil circumstances which all too often befall good men, we must remember the plain command of our Captain: "Look up!" We shall be most blessed if we take good heed, and if we do not, then we shall smart for our stubbornness. It is an easy thing to see how evil men succeed in their enterprises and how they seem to make headway upon the saints of God. But it is a hard thing, yea, impossible, but for the special eye of faith, to see how that the wicked flourish - yes - but "it is that they shall be destroyed for ever" (Psa. 92:7). Or do you forget, Christian, how that the laws which God has set in order to govern his universe (both spiritual and physical) must stand? not one can be broken? Have you looked upon the way of the wicked so long that you have forgotten the higher ways of God? Their ways are "movable", "unstable as water", transitory as a mist, fleeting as the morning cloud - but, O! brother, remember that the way of the Lord is forever! Does the word eternal not suffice to cool thy trembling heart? God commands that you "look up" now, and see him who is your life, who holds your times in his hand, standing at the right hand of the Majesty on high - all things under his feet and at his feet (that is, ready to do him service), yea, even thy fierce adversary! Even these things which have befallen thee, dear Christian, shall yet work together for your good here, and your glory, when your Judge shall return with rewards in His hand.
There are certain harbingers, or precursors, of judgment that God has revealed in his word which shall most certainly stand though the pride of man doth arrogantly oppose them. One for instance, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty" (Prov. 18:12). Has God not caused the truth of this pithy line to bear out before the eyes of all the world time after time - both of the believer and the skeptic? When the wicked begin to laugh on earth is when the Lord begins to laugh in heaven. This is the precise time when God settles that "he shall have them greatly in derision" (see, Psa. 2). Do you believe this of your Lord, Christian? Then why all your fretting for the evil doers? When will you be still and know that he is God, and calmly trust that he shall be exalted among the heathen? The command is not that you would stand awhile halting, but that you would obey immediately the call, "Look up!"
As there are certain harbingers of judgment so are there also of blessings. The aforementioned verse supplies the blessing as well, "Before honour is humility" (Prov. 18:12). How wonderful is this word! Are you nigh crushed by your enemy? Are you humiliated beyond recognition? Are you oppressed in your poverty? Are you afflicted in your affliction? Are you sighing in your neediness? If so, be careful to not count these your curses, on the contrary, my friend, these are your ushers to honour! God in love presses you upon his nether millstone! God in love heats you in his crucible! Take heart then, therefore, when the wicked excel for a time and you are buried in the dust of adversity - this too shall pass away. Changes shall come to both the workers of iniquity as well as to the righteous. As Job, with eyes upward, so let your resolve be, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 14:14).