Confession: Everyday feels longer and longer and my impatience is showing.
But God is working on me. Eric and I have something in common that has it’s positives and negatives — like basically every characteristic that hasn’t been fully redeemed yet. We are both change junkies. We actually really like it when our whole world is turned upside down. It’s like a new challenge — what will the new routine be? what will we learn next? what area of our lives are going to be improved because of this? A glaring downside to this mentality is the dissatisfaction that comes when change is long in coming. Dissatisfaction that leaves us wandering away from Christ in search of a quicker way…a greener pasture…a change fix. Eric leans more toward the go-seek-something. I lean more towards the sit-and-do-nothing-while-growing-in-despair-that-I-will-be-stuck-like-this-forever.
Rather than go into a long explanation of how I am yet again faced with my faithlessness and impatience I want to dive into what the Bible teaches.
Impatience is a common malady. The Israelites couldn’t wait for Moses to return from the mountain so they settled for a golden calf to worship instead of God. And over and over again they chose the immediate over what required waiting. They chose their own way instead of being satisfied to dwell in the Presence of God. This led to a stiff-necked, hard-hearted people who did not recognize the Messiah when he came in the flesh and ransomed our souls. Our impatience makes us blind because we become so focused on what we think will satisfy our hunger and thirst for an abundant life that we miss the fact that we are walking away from living water and the bread that offers true life.
Impatience was common among the 1st Century church as well. Times were hard — persecution was rampant, church leaders were being arrested and martyred, and Jesus hadn’t returned yet. This theme is seen in the letter to the Thessalonians as well but I’m going to focus on the letter Peter wrote to his people.
In 2 Peter 3, Peter is wrapping up his second and final letter to the people he oversees. He knows he is going to be killed soon and has been reminding them of the true gospel and exhorting them in the importance of perseverance through suffering and clinging to the words of Jesus so as to not be swayed by men. He describes men who are going to come along and try to convince the Christians that Jesus isn’t really going to return. He goes on to say:
5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
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. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:5-18
I found this passage to be incredibly comforting this morning. What is Peter falling back on? The power and assurance of the words of God. He has communicated through prophets, through life on earth as a man, and through his apostles. His promises have rang true throughout all of history and will continue to for eternity future.
There is much in life to feel impatient over. When will stability come, when will I finally get rid of ____ habit, when will I hear back about ____, when will Appleseed come, etc. But what are we really waiting for? As Christians, we are waiting eagerly for the return of Christ. When all will be made new and he will rule and the struggle with sin and death will be over for good. Everything else is so trivial. And in every circumstance, we can allow our waiting to transform us into God’s people who will “be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”
God is gracious. He allows us time to discover who he is and what he is offering to us as his children. Verses 8-9 and 15 remind us that it is for our good that Christ has not yet returned. So we and others can come to repentance and faith in him. This got me thinking, what if Christ had returned a year ago, or two years ago? Would he have found me following him? I’ve often wondered when it was that I truly “came to Christ” — beyond knowing of him and I really have no idea. It could’ve been when I was 4 or it could’ve been in college. Jesus waited for me. And continues to wait for our sakes.
How does this help me cope with waiting for my daughter to arrive? Waiting is a blessing. It may not feel like it but there are things I can do right now that will be much more difficult once she is no longer conveniently carried inside of me. And I’m not talking about the plethora of home projects that I’m trying to get through before she arrives. I’m talking about the habits, the focus of my heart and soul, the prioritizing of my husband, the always developing trust, and the always needed learning.
As the reality sets in that it really could be any time, God is continuing to give me time to be diligent. To choose to not sit and wait but to live actively — on purpose and with a drive for each day meaning something beyond a day closer to her arrival.
Baby Girl, the day I get to hold you is going to be a really great day. I can tell you are excited for it too=)
Jesus, keep my heart focused on you, and not what I think I need.