Time; January 25, 2023


Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

As even physicists are starting to realize, time is relative, even subjective. The word “soon” here perhaps seemed like a joke or even a lie even to the people who read this letter first, and it certainly has to many people in the centuries since then. However, two things counter that response. The first is of course the fact that Peter famously pointed out about God’s perception of time: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9) Because God is outside of time, everything is NOW to Him. The second thing that strikes me here is that God will use our feet to crush Satan (as the Japanese makes clear). That doesn’t necessarily mean his ultimate defeat, as expressed in Revelation, but it does mean victory over him on a personal level. James famously expressed it as, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) It’s no use trying to resist the devil if we aren’t submitted to God, but it’s also foolish to expect victory if we aren’t willing to apply ourselves to resist him. Of course we can’t do that in our own strength, but as God later told Paul, His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) That’s why the blessing of grace in the 2nd half of this verse is very appropriate in this context. We don’t know the form our victory will take, whether in this life or the next, but our victory is nonetheless sure.

Of course this applies as much to me as it does to anyone else. At 74, I have experienced things that seemed to happen almost instantly and things that seemed to take forever. I’ve had to learn that it’s all the same to God! Submitting my perception of time to God has been a difficult lesson, frankly, and the lessons continue. Right now my wife is recovering from major back surgery in October, complicated by Parkinson’s Disease. She herself can’t remember how very bad off she was before the surgery, so patience with her recovery is difficult for her. Likewise, I would like freedom of movement and freedom from pain for her, but at least I can see how much better off she is now than she was four months ago. The flip side of that is that she is the one experiencing the pain! On a broader scale, we have now been in Omura over 41 years, and we haven’t seen the major harvest we have desired. However, we have seen individual lives transformed, and we have sent disciples of Christ across the world. We don’t see the whole picture! We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and keep stepping on the devil, so that those oppressed by him may be set free, for their salvation and God’s glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I shouldn’t need it quite so often! Help me indeed trust You fully and obey You faithfully, so that Your will may be done in and through me on Your schedule, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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