But 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
A thousand years seems like a long time to me, and for a thousand years to be like one day to God, really puts the patience of God into perspective. I don’t know about you, but patience is not one of my long suits. When I go to the doctor a specific time is set for the visit. However, it seems that doctors schedules do not necessarily match appointment times of patients. After getting checked in by a nurse, I usually have to sit in the doctor’s room where we will meet and wait for another 30 minutes before the doctor walks in for our visit. I have learned to take my I-Pad so I can do some reading or answer some emails while I wait. It is only when I am caught off-guard and have to wait, like in traffic, that I get antsy and impatient. I realize I simply do not have much patience. So when I read Peter’s message that one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day to the Lord, it makes me think about God’s purpose in waiting and what it means for me. Perhaps God is waiting on us to see if we can grow in our relationship with God.
Advent is always a time for waiting. We wait for Christmas to arrive, and what do we do with that period of waiting? Many of us get caught up in decorating our homes, and that can be an ongoing activity that lasts right up until Christmas Eve, or we get carried away with shopping. If Jesus truly is the “Prince of Peace,” then why do conflict, war, and aggression still prevail in this world? We wait for Peace all our lives. Like many of you I long for God’s peace to reign in the world. The events of this year remind us that peace is not on earth yet. The tribulation is here but the Son of Man remains in the clouds (Mark 13:24-26). Why must we wait so long for peace?
Perhaps we need to use the Advent waiting time as a time of working for God’s peace with a stronger purpose than we have been doing. God must have great patience with us while he waits for us to learn something and do something that fulfills his purpose. Perhaps God is waiting on us to work with a Godly purpose, work that helps us move toward a more just and peaceful future.
So what does that work look like? Peter goes on to say that while we are waiting for Christ to come in his glory we can strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish. Our hope for peace might sound like a pipedream in all of the rioting, and controversial groups in our society that are constantly at war with each other. I wonder if our hope for peace is made real by us living out our lives working for justice and peace. We can examine our own hearts to see what bigotry is in us. We can use our waiting time in doing something that brings peace to the kingdom of God here on earth. We can care for the poor, the sick, the child, the elderly, the homeless, the immigrant and give them the love that Jesus gave them. If we use our waiting time to the glory of God in any way perhaps we can then realize that patience is developing in us, and God’s righteousness is at work in our waiting. You must know dear friends I am writing this to myself, and you just get to read my thoughts on how I can possibly learn to be patient like God has patience with me.
- In what ways can you spend your waiting time in Advent to bring peace and God’s love to others?
- Will your patience during Advent be realized by helping others, and how can you extend it beyond Christmas of 2020?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.