Patiently Awaiting His Return
Have you ever been to a drive thru fast food place and ordered something simple like a milkshake, just to pull around the corner and see a line of 15 vehicles in front of you? The wait can seem like an eternity! Twiddling your thumbs, changing radio stations, and playing with the window buttons doesn’t seem to make it go any faster. You know sometimes this is how I feel about the return of Christ. I think to myself, “why is He taking so long?” I know I’m not the only one to think this because many of the early apostles had to answer the same question as some of them believed Christ was to return in their lifetime. Peter offers some consolation and strong words of advice in his second letter to the church as response to the mockers that would say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:4)
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 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 3:8-9
Vs. 8 A Day Like a Thousand Years
The pretext of this verse there are obviously questions about where is the returning king? Why don’t we have a time frame? If you are a christian, where is the second coming? We hear these questions and remarks today just as well. Peter warns of this even implying it will get worse in the last days. Then he takes the scene way back before creation. He explains that there was nothing and that nothing had to wait for God to do something and He did. He created. Then after creation and the fall of man there was so much corruption on the earth that god flooded it and wiped out all mankind save for those on the ark. That too was a long time coming. He then says, “the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire.” This is a pretty scary setup if you ask me. However, he then follows with verse 8 and says “do not let this one fact escape your notice.” This is definitely an imperative that should grab our attention to what comes next. “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.”
So many have misinterpreted this verse as a literal thousand years in our time is one day to God. They miss the point. Peter is calling on the character of the all knowing eternal God. He is saying do not worry for God is eternal from everlasting to everlasting and time is nothing to Him.
Vs. 9 The Lord is Not Slow
“The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness.” Since we are living within a timeline and have set up rules about hours, minutes and seconds, it is hard for us humans to envision anything outside of that. We get upset when we have to wait 10 minutes for a milkshake at drive-thru let alone waiting for the return of Christ when over 2,000 years ago he said he would return shortly. God is not slow in fulfilling his promises. Our lives are but a vapor. Our history as humans is but a breath in the winds of eternity.
Perspective can mean everything. “is patient towards you, not wishing anyone should perish but for all to come to repentance.” Finally, we have an answer as to why it seems to take so long. Christ could have come back 100, 300, 1500 years ago and completed his judgment on the earth. However where would that leave you and I? We wouldn’t have existed. God is patient and bides his time with His return because he wants to give us all a chance to experience life, to come to know what it means to be alive and to be human and most importantly to discover Himself. We are made in His image and He desires our praise, our devotion, our love, just as He has loved us. Though we pray for the quick return of the Lord, He is always faithful to his creation and steadies his hand when it come to the final return because with His return comes fire and judgment. He does not wish that upon us all and is giving us all a chance to come to know Him and come to repentance before that time.
Just like it was in the days of Noah so will it be in the last days (paraphrase of the words of Christ in Matt 24). Peter will go on to say in verse 10, “The day of the Lord will come like a theif in the night.” As it was in Noah’s day there will be many who have given up on Christs return. They will see the fires of heaven just as the flood waters and dismiss them as only a myth. Have faith and be encouraged. Know that the Lord is not slow in fulfilling His word, just patient with us that we may know Him. Its actually an act of love if you think about it. So next time your in a drive thru and the highschooler running the ice cream machine forgets how to put in the oreos, remember the patience of the Lord and maybe give the kid a little grace.