Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Hold on Just a Second
One of my favorite preacher jokes goes like this: “A fellow chatting with God asked, “God, how long is a million years to you?” God replied, “A million years is like a second.” So then, the man asked, “How much is a million dollars to you?” To this God replied, “A million dollars is like a penny.” The man grinned and said, “Could you spare a penny?” Not missing a beat God quipped, “Sure, just wait a second.”
The Second Epistle of Peter is probably one of the last pieces of Holy Scripture to be written. Written at least 60 years after the death of Jesus (possibly more), the Letter attempts to rally believers who have begun to doubt Jesus’ Second Coming. Perhaps God had forgotten the promise?
The author responds in two ways. First, drawing on Psalm 90, he points out that God’s time is not our time. Astronomers now think that the Universe is more than 13 billion years old. Whatever the meaning of time is, it’s really big. So our impatience of a few decades (or in our case, two millennia) is just shaped by a frail human perception.
The second tack is even more interesting. The author says that God doesn’t want anyone to perish and so God is willing to wait until all repent! Imagine that, God holds off and offers divine mercy.
Each of these ideas is worth nourishing this Advent. Waiting for God may actually help us come to see our place in God’s plan. God is not just a talisman that we pull out in stressful times. God’s delay may be the invitation we need to get ourselves (and those around us) into alignment with God.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to thee, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto thee; and then use us, we pray thee, as thou wilt, and always to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.Amen. BCP page 832