Read 2 Peter 3
When we look around at the world and see so much of the awful things that are going on, we often echo the words of Scripture, “How long oh Lord?” Our liturgies include in them a bid for Jesus to come back soon and even our worship music emphasizes this at times. The truth is that we long for Jesus’ return so that all things in this world will be put right once again.
Christians in the days of the early church longed for this as well. In fact, most figured that Jesus would be back in their lifetime. However, when that did not come to pass, and especially as the great persecution broke out against the church, people began to wonder when the time would be that Jesus would come back.
This is not necessarily a bad thing to wonder about. It does, however, create some “fertile soil” for the seeds of doubt to grow, especially if those scoffers that Peter talks about here were to come and try to grow their seeds with scoffing and questions.
Peter, in his desire to feed God’s sheep, does a lot here to put things into perspective. We are really only capable of thinking in terms of our own lives or known history at best. This reveals our finite ability to understand both time as we know it and God’s time (and timing). God stands outside of time, holding the whole of eternity in His hands and so, it is understandable that God’s work and will may also be outside the scope of our vision and understanding.
God’s original promise to Abraham took somewhere between 1500 and 2000 years to come true in Jesus, but it did come true. In the same way, Jesus’ promise to return and God’s promise to complete His redemptive work, bringing all things under Christ and making everything right, destroying wickedness and evil forever, will come true in God’s perfect time.
Why the delay? Well, who is to say that there is a delay? It feels like that for us but for God, it’s right on time. More than this, though, we see in God’s timing a true act of love and mercy, desiring that none would perish but that as many people as possible would come to know His love and mercy.
This is a very deep perspective that we need to keep as we think about Jesus’ coming. Though we long for that “great and terrible” day, we also need to remember that each day we are here, each day that Jesus does not return is another day for us to spread God’s love and grace so that none would perish.