2 Peter 3:8-15
“The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish . . .” 2 Peter 3:9
Remember the old joke about the impatient person who prays for patience saying, “Dear Lord, give me patience . . . right now! Amen.” We laugh a bit because I think at some point, we all struggle with being patient and we can relate to such a prayer!
Advent is a funny season because it is about “anticipation and expectation,” but it is also about “waiting and patience.” The child within us and the children around us are eager to get to Christmas day. This waiting thing is tough.
I remember when I was about eight years old, my grandparents, an aunt and uncle and my cousins came to spend Christmas with us. After the Christmas Eve church service, the big dinner, and singing and laughter brought us to the end of the day, it was finally time! Bed time! The cousins all slept together in one room in sleeping bags on the floor. I was SO EXCITED! Christmas Eve! Tomorrow is Christmas! All I had to do was close my eyes and wake up for Christmas morning! I closed my eyes. Then I opened them. Still Christmas Eve . . . shoot! I tried again. Then, again. Still awake! After a while I began to panic. In the confused state of a young child’s mind I thought, “What if I can’t get to sleep? If I can’t get to sleep, then I can’t wake up on Christmas morning!” (Hey, I was only eight.) Ever notice how a lack of patience can lead us down the wrong path? Impatience can lead us to a place of doubt, anxiety and fear. That is a path that leads us away from hope and promise and loving actions.
If I look at the world today from my impatient, human perspective, I can get frustrated with how “slow” the kingdom of God is in arriving. Another Christmas is coming, and too many young soldiers are deployed far from home. Another Christmas is coming, and too many families are broken by addiction rather than healed by Advent. Another Christmas is coming, and in the richest nation on earth, too many are hungry and homeless. Still. And, I get a little impatient with God.
Then I catch a glimpse of the long suffering love of God in this text from 2 Peter — a God who is not ready to bring down the end of days because we have not fulfilled the capacity of love and compassion embedded in us at our moment of birth. A God whose love is patient with us — all of us. Willing, hoping urging us to acts of love and compassion that will mean one less person will parish at the hands of another. Working and waiting with divine patience for the day when not “any” will be outside the loving spirit of God’s will. Perhaps we must be reminded that this “Peace on Earth” we seek must be something we truly believe is coming, and we must patiently stay focused on this our entire lives, so that one day the promise we live for, will be lived out.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I live in your love with patience for all your children, never doubting your love is moving your creation toward the future you intend. Amen.
Rev. John Farley
South District Superintendent
Dean of Cabinet