“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise…but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…” 2 Peter 3:1-10
As we began our Advent journey together, we acknowledged that this season is about waiting. Unfortunately. For if there is anything that we are not good at, it’s waiting! We are an impatient and unruly people—and more so as time passes. We are all about immediate gratification these days, preferring “overnight” to standard delivery, and email or Instagram to snail-mail.
And yet, there can be a spiritual purpose to waiting. In my work with call committees in the NALC, we begin the process by introducing the concept of “waiting for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). We understand that because the call process is the work of the Holy Spirit, it happens in God’s timing, not our own. When we are waiting upon the Lord, there are always spiritual lessons to be learned—one of which is that though we may not see it, God is working out his will!
This is the message of Peter in our reading cited above. Bottom line: our timing is not God’s timing. What seems a long time to you and me is but the blink of an eye to God. In the midst of pain and suffering, we might become angry that it seems prolonged beyond our ability to endure. But all in God’s own time.
As we wait and watch for Christ’s coming, what spiritual purpose might God have for the apparent (to us) delay? Why doesn’t Jesus come, and come quickly, given the trouble and turmoil of this present age?
Peter reminds us that the Lord is forbearing toward us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance! If that is the Lord’s spiritual purpose—that none should perish but all come to repentance—then settle in and prepare to wait a little longer!
Lord, teach us patience in our waiting, for the sake of a world in desperate need of repentance and renewal! Amen.