Long time coming, long time gone
Sunday, December 4, 2011
2 Peter 3:8-9
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day … He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
In approximately 1000 B.C., David succeeded Saul as king of Israel. About a thousand years later, Jesus was born. About a thousand years after that, Greenland, Iceland and Sweden were Christianized.
Most of us were alive in 2000 A.D. and were watching when a potential computer problem did not paralyze the world’s economy. We watched while the communist Iron Curtain came down. We mourned the deaths of Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. We saw planes destroy the World Trade Center towers before our eyes.
With the Lord, a thousand years are like one day. “He is patient with you …”
How can I receive this the way Peter must have meant it, as a gesture of God’s love and assurance? Do I deserve His patience? No. Do I resent the fact that He must be patient with me? Yes. Do I want to think that I would be just fine without his patronizing patience? Yes.
But I wouldn’t, would I? I know how lazy I can be, and how vice in my life moves toward virtue in only the smallest ways over far too long. I have been taught from childhood to value my soul, to nurture my spirit, to surrender to Jesus. Even so, I would not be just fine without the patience of my Father. Not just fine at all.
How many sins has God forgiven during these few thousand years, these few “days?” I hold my breath as the number is announced. But I am not condemned, and I am not cast out. God is patient with me. As I hear the number … as I am amazed by the number, I know how long and how wide and how deep is the love with which God loves me.
There is nothing small in the way you treat the world, Lord, or the way that you treat me. We are all made better by our encounters with You, and never smaller. When I take even my resistance and confusion and pride straight to you, even those things which make me smaller in themselves have no power. Your goodness endures forever.