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.
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
Can we agree that the Lord works off of a higher calendar? This is why it is so important for us to mark time with a much larger memory than the events of our times. We are part of a much larger story than that of family, country, or even this world. Our story spans from eternity past through all of history and onward through eternity future. It’s why the followers of Jesus need a bigger calendar than the Roman calendar. While January through December aren’t going anywhere, we need our calendars to be infused with the story of Jesus and the timing of God.
In America, we live in a country marked by a couple of centuries. The Israelites spent four hundred years in Egypt alone before the hand of God delivered them from the land of slavery into the land of promise. Between the last Word of God to Malachi and the first New Testament Word of God to Zechariah, we count four hundred years of silence. Two hundred years are a mere watch in the night on the Lord’s calendar.
To say this tests the patience of the average person would be an understatement. We read. We believe. We hope. But it’s been more than two thousand years since he came the first time—730,000 days! Come on, Jesus! We are ready for the new heaven and the new earth. We are ready for no more suffering, the end of injustice, no more children sold into slavery or the sex trade, no more cancer, no more divorce, no more war. We are ready, Jesus. Aren’t you looking forward to this? Two thousand years now, the vigil passed from generation to generation. But we will keep perspective in our patience, for according to the Lord’s calendar, it’s only been a couple of days.
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.
According to the text, we misunderstand slowness. Because we know ourselves, we tend to think of slowness as procrastination. There is a difference between procrastination and patience. Our God does not delay. He waits, and he does not wait passively but actively. The Holy Spirit is at work in every single person in the world, actively calling, beckoning, wooing them to follow Jesus Christ. He patiently waits on everyone, anyone, anywhere at any time to respond with faith.
He wants this same kind of patient, active waiting for us. While we look toward the first Advent and wait on the final one, we actively move about our days and lives with confidence that the Spirit is moving in every single person we encounter to bring them into relationship and an ever-deepening walk with Jesus. Jesus would reach out to them through us, perhaps with a smile, an embrace, a surprising act of mercy, a word of grace or mercy, even an explicit sharing of the gospel as he leads.
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.
It is a brand-new year. Can we get on the same page on Jesus’ calendar? It’s Advent, a season where the air is pregnant with the Holy Spirit’s awakening power.
Our Father in heaven, nearer than my breath, thank you for these days of Advent and this new year in Christ. I confess I have lost touch and maybe even patience with the expansive scope of your calendar and timing. Wake me up to the possibility that you could return today. Turn my waiting from passive to active. Come, Holy Spirit, and attune my spirit to your working in every person I will encounter today. In the name of Jesus Messiah—the one who has come, is here, and is coming again—for his glory and our good, amen.
How might you become more attuned and alert to the fact that God is at work in every single person on the face of the earth, especially the ones you will encounter today? What could that look like?
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