And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing, (2 Timothy 4:8, emphasis mine).
Just before moving to Italy the first time, I was involved in an accident. Although it was technically my fault, the police told me that the accident was unavoidable. Thank God that none of us was injured, though the car was badly damaged. The other driver appeared unhurt, but the paramedics talked her into going to the hospital, saying that it would preserve a claim against me if it turned out that there were injuries that were not immediately apparent.
After moving, I discovered that she had filed a lawsuit against me. Her injury claim was carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is pinched nerves in the wrist caused by repetitive movement, like working at a computer day after day. I didn’t believe that her carpal tunnel was caused by the accident—we only crashed once, after all. The lawsuit exceeded the policy limits of my insurance policy, and her lawyer had blocked the sale of our house, pending the result of the trial (which could take literally years). From my temporary residence in Italy, I had to hire an attorney to defend me. My attorney set up a deal in which we would put the full amount of the sale of the house into an escrow account, pending the court’s ruling. That way, at least the house sale could proceed.
My first reaction, of course, was to worry about all this. But I was reading the Psalms every day, and throughout the Psalms are appeals to God as Judge, for example:
Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men? . . . The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, so that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely He is God who judges in the earth,” (Psalm 58:1 & 10-11, NKJV, emphasis mine).
So I decided to appeal my case to the highest court possible: the Court of Heaven. I prayed: “Father, You judge my case, and I will be satisfied whatever Your verdict is, because I know that only You judge rightly.”
About a month later, she dropped the lawsuit and settled within the limits of the insurance policy.
Most people are uneasy at best, thinking of God as Judge. If you’re unrighteous, then you have good reason to be uneasy at the thought. But a righteous person (that is, made righteous through faith in Jesus), has nothing to fear. In fact, it’s reassuring to know that the Judge is my Father, who loves me.
Earthly courtrooms are places where justice doesn’t always triumph. But in God’s heavenly courtroom, justice is as perfect as our Perfect Judge. God is good!