“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Nearly 2000 years later, where is Jesus? He said he would come back and finish this.
Don’t be lured into the lie that God has taken a seat on his throne, that he wound up creation and is letting it spin like a top forever by simply allowing the laws of nature to run their course. It is the patience of God in His desire to be just that has taken us to the year 2017. In the preceding verse, Peter tells us, “with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” But don’t take this to mean God is outside of or has no concept of time. He knows what is going on.
I have three children. The oldest is about to turn nine years old. Through the wonders of Facebook, I get almost daily reminders of “memories” from years gone by. And every time I see one of these pictures, or recall one of those memories in my mind, I think, “That seems like it was only yesterday.” As a young father, that is often the advice I get from those much older and wiser: “Cherish this time. It will fly by.” “They will be in college before you know it.” I hear the elders of the church talk about the past (seemingly long ago to me) saying, “I remember it like it was yesterday.” But time hasn’t sped up. What is happening?
I also remember my college days, particularly the intensive sessions in graduate school. Those daylong lectures, if I had to bet money, were not really one day long. They seemed like weeks had gone by in only a matter of hours. If “time flies when you’re having fun,” then time crawls when life is boring!
We know this to be true, which is why
a week vacation seems short, but a week in the hospital feels like an eternity
a teenage boy can play video games for hours without eating, but needs a snack every 15 minutes when he’s doing homework
So here is perhaps one reason why “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” to God: He is joyfully working for the salvation of all. Time is flying by because He is busily working to bring all of the sheep into his pen from the pasture. Romans 11:25 tells us that “the full number of Gentiles” must come into the Kingdom before the end comes. The imagery in that chapter is a gardener grafting wild olive branches into a cultivated root and vine. Now imagine those vines are whipping around, vigorously resisting until they realize what is actually happening – life being given to them. And that work is so great that the angels in heaven rejoice every time just one single vine is grafted (Luke 5:10).
No wonder God is patient in His return. The time is flying by as he joyfully and painstakingly brings each one of us into the Vine. And every time heaven rejoices, He says, “That was awesome. Let’s do one more!”
Our God does not tire. He does not grow bored. We can be assured that when “the full number of Gentiles has come in,” God is not going to sit back on His throne and catch His breath. He is not going say, “Oof, I need a vacation after that.” When one piece of joyful work is finished, He will move on to the next. That is, the return of Jesus Christ.
We should rejoice that work of Jesus on the cross to fulfill the justice of God has enabled him to be patient with us. Rejoice that the joyful work of saving souls in the name of Jesus is the patience of God.