Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8–15a
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. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. (NIV)
How Shall We Wait?
Waiting is hard, unless you are four-year-old Andrew at the doctor’s office. Our firstborn was prone to ear infections, so he was there a lot. At home he was miserable and quiet, with a hot forehead and big, glassy eyes. But as soon as he entered the doctor’s waiting room, he came to life. He flitted from patient to patient, telling stories and sharing toys and probably germs. While his mom just wanted the doctor to get back on schedule, Andrew saw this as his opportunity! Often the doctors wondered if he was truly sick, and each time his mom had to explain, “He wasn’t like this at home.”
Waiting is hard, unless we know some important things about our wait. In this passage, Peter reminds us what we’re waiting for, why we have to wait, and what we should do while we wait. First, we’re waiting for the day of the Lord and a new heaven and new earth (verses 10, 13). Even those who don’t know Jesus are longing for this. We want a world where order reigns and chaos, sin, and death are no more. We celebrate that this has begun in the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, while we wait for it to be completed at his return.
Second, he’s on a different clock than we are. He measures time by eons, millennia, and generations, not months, days, and minutes (verse 8). Just look at the universe. His patience isn’t neglect, but love. He wants all to come to repentance and faith (verse 9). So we wait as God accomplishes his redemptive plan.
Lastly, our waiting is an opportunity for us. Peter reminds us that waiting is the perfect opportunity to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (verse 14). Through the grace of forgiveness and determined discipleship, it’s a time to set our course toward Christ and Christ-likeness. It’s a time to join him in his mission in the world. And it’s a time to grow in peace with him and others.
It may feel like we’re stuck in the waiting room. But this room is an opportunity for us to grow in fellowship with God and with the community of faith and join God in working for the salvation of others in our world. How then shall we wait? In the way that speeds his coming (verse 12).
Jim Renke – Regional Minister for the Upper Mississippi Region