This week we continue our series of devotions from the beautiful old hymn, “My Father’s world.” The writer, Maltbie Davenport Babcock, loved nature as we have discussed previously but, in this verse, he looks not at the physical but the spiritual aspect of the world. He took note of the fact that when it seems like the wrong was winning that God is still the ruler.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
When we see all the evil around us, we tend to forget that it still is God’s world. We hear about tragedies such as school shootings or abused children, and we wonder why God doesn’t just come and wipe out evil. We see the morality of our nation becoming more and more corrupt, and we wonder why God doesn’t step in. We question how he could let evil continue when he has the power to stop it.
Sometimes the evil becomes even more personal. When we have been hurt, we want justice. We want to know that the person will be punished for what they have done to us. I think there is something very subtle in Babcock hymn that is easily overlooked. It is the line “O let me ne’er forget.” Babcock is reminding himself that despite what he sees with his eyes that he knows in his heart that God is the ruler yet.
When we question where God is when evil is occurring we can also know that people of Bible times asked the same questions. They wanted to know when Jesus was going to come judge the sinfulness as he had promised. The answer given to them is still our answer today. The Bible says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) (NIV)
God is very much still in control. He is withholding his wrath to give sinners time to repent. He is a fair and just God who is the ultimate judge. God will not forget, nor will he let evil slip by his all-seeing eye. Any sin not covered by his mercy through repentance will be judged.
I am grateful for that mercy. Aren’t you? For without God’s patients and mercy we too would be judged for our sins. But because of his mercy, we can be one of those that will be with him when he triumphs over evil. We can rest assured that the battle is not done and that he will triumph, and we can leave the timetable up to him, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14) (NIV)