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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

The Lord Is Not Slow

2 Peter 3    Jeremiah 45-46    Psalm 141

“The Lord is not slow . . .” (2 Peter 3:9). In today’s readings, we hear the psalmist plead, “O Lord; come quickly to me” (Psalm 141:1), and we find God promising, yet again, to an insolent people, “I am going to save you” (Jeremiah 46:27). But what are we to do when the Lord doesn’t “come quickly” and expected salvation is delayed? What are we to think about God and God’s promises? And how are we to live with, and in, the “in-between” time? It is to such questions as these that 2 Peter 3 attends . . .

“Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). There are many responses available to us when God fails to meet our expectations concerning time and timeliness. We can conclude that God is slow . . . or unresponsive . . . or, even, not real. We can scoff, “Where is the promise of the Lord’s coming?” (2 Peter 3:4) . . . We can despair . . . Or we can choose to trust God’s providence, plan, and patience. Is God slow? Or deliberate? Unresponsive? Or patient? Well. The apostle would have us remember, first, that God is above and beyond time; not subject to the “tick, tick, tick” of the clock, and certainly not limited by it (v.8). What’s more, God’s deepest desire and greatest goal is that “all come to repentance” (v.9), and if this requires what we would call “delay,” then God says, “so be it!” But what are we to do in the meantime?! What, indeed . . .

“Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting . . .” (2 Peter 3:14). Lead lives “of holiness and godliness” (v.11), and “strive to be found by him in peace, without spot or blemish” (v.14). And continue to call upon the Lord, asking for help and strength in doing so (Psalm 141:3,4). And, critically, “have no fear,” for God is with you (Jeremiah 46:28); even when you doubt it is so . . . The call is to active, intentional, hope-filled waiting with God’s “big picture” of salvation in mind. The Lord will come. Right “on time.” And “like a thief” (2 Peter 3:10). And every single one of God’s promises will be fulfilled (see 2 Corinthians 1:20). In the meantime, let us live as those who also want “all to come to repentance.” Let us work toward that end. And, beloved of God, let us give thanks for the patience of our Lord. Amen.

“Wait for the Lord,
whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord,
keep watch, take heart.”
— A Sung Prayer of the Taize Community

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