Will Justice Prevail?

It is the tale of two tapes—both concerning Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was shot by a police officer

While running away.

In one video, you clearly see Scott running away from the officer before being shot down. In the aftermath, the police officer, Michael Slager, appears to plant a taser that he claims was used against him in a prior struggle. While it is hard to judge an officer who employs deadly force in the heat of a potentially deadly struggle, there is no doubt that Scott was at least 17-18 feet away from Slager before he discharged his weapon eight times.

Now, in the second video, you clearly see Judy Scott, the mother of Michael Scott, defiantly declaring that she will wait upon the Lord. She proceeds to eloquently speak of her faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is clearly not a means of escapism for Ms. Scott—she speaks of the continued judicial process as well—but is a source of immense strength for her.

In an age of cynicism, bitterness, and vision, this grieving mother holds fast to a hope that justice will yet prevail. Is such a hope misguided? Instead of making the case myself, let’s rely on Ms. Scott’s own words.

Jesus is on the inside. For the most part, we cannot control the things on the outside. A whole host of life circumstances stand outside of our control. A mother cannot perfectly protect her children in their youth, let alone adolescence and adulthood. Nor can we offer any hope that excessive force will not, on occasion, be used against a man fleeing for his life. If we attach our hopes to the circumstances around us, we will always be destined for disappointment.

When Ms. Scott speaks of Jesus being on the inside, she speaks of the Christian belief her life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-4). Nothing and nobody can rob the Christian of that assurance. One can be assailed by bullets or by injustice, but Christ always has the final word. In that same Bible passage, Christians are instructed to “seek the things that are above.” This mindset guides Ms. Scott’s next remark…

Wait for the Lord and be of good courage. This phrase comes from the climatic conclusion of Psalm 27, where justice is sought from God and assurance floods the heart that God will indeed prevail. In light of that assurance, the Psalmist then utters the words that anchor the heart of Ms. Scott. If God will indeed prevail, then she—and all who trust in the God of the Bible—can wait.

We can wait for the perfection of our police force or our political order. We can wait for the abolition of civil strife, racial injustice, and poverty. Or we can labor in these tasks, knowing that the world will never perfect itself, and trust in the Lord who will make everything right again in his own time. The heart that believes that this world is all will have a horizon of hope that extends only to the latest social, cultural, legal, or political cause. The Christian takes courage, knowing that God has appointed a day when he will let “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (Amos 5:18-24).

Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. In Hebrews 11, a list of Old Testament heroes are recounted—not for their faithfulness as much as the fact that they walked by God’s grace through faith in the coming Christ. The shadowy figure of their salvation extended their horizon of hope to Heaven itself. These believers of old have received their reward and now stand as a cloud of witness (Heb. 12:1-4) to believers in the present day, testifying to the fact that Jesus is the “founder and perfecter” (italics mine) of their faith. He is able, and as a result, the believer need not grow “weary or fainthearted.”

Ms. Scott concludes by saying that the joy of the Lord is her strength (Neh. 8:10) because she has been washed by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14). As a result, she will “fear not”—a comfort offered through Scripture to those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23) or are about to come into contact with the Christ child whom we celebrate at Christmas (Luke 2). In displaying this encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture, Ms. Scott is fixing her hope in a transcendent arc of truth that stretches over every worldly circumstance.

Will justice prevail for Ms. Scott? Without a doubt. She simply directs you to follow a different set of evidences than those at the crime scene and presented in the courtroom. The evidences—all bearing the blood of the Savior of sinners—all reach an inevitable conclusion: justice will prevail and, for those who wait upon the Lord, every tear will be wiped from their eyes.

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