Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
2 Peter 3: 8-9 The Message
There is an old joke about a conversation between a poor man and the Lord. It goes like this…
A poor man walking in the forest feels close enough to God to ask,
"God, what is a million years to you?"
God replies, "My son, a million years to you is like a second to me."
The man asks, "God, what is a million dollars to you?"
God replies, "My son, a million dollars to you is less than a penny to me. It means almost nothing to me."
The man asks, "So God, can I have a million dollars?"
And God replies, "In a second!"
Besides bringing up a smile, this joke is built upon a biblical truth: God’s ways of measuring things do not always align with our own. A thousand years to God is as good as one day, and vice versa.
This statement is not offered by Peter without context. Peter is speaking about Jesus coming back, and the judgment His return brings. Peter wants his hearers to understand that while we may consider Jesus’ return to be tardy, or even late, that is only because we see things from our finite, human perspective.
We need to remember that God existed before our created world. Time looks very differently to Him, than it does to us. Some people assume that God seems “tardy” or “late” according to their schedules. They might even perceive that He does not care about us, or even that He does not exist.
Nothing could be further from the truth! God loves us, and God loves all of those created in His image. Peter correctly points out that God’s “delay” is intentional. The Lord wants as many people as possible to come to know Him, and to be saved. He truly does not want anyone left behind.
He is delaying things on ours and other’s accounts, out of His great love for all people.
I can still remember taking timed multiplication tests in third grade.
These were given periodically, and over time, it was expected that everyone would improve. I remember making some improvements. Yet eventually, I seemed to hit a wall. I could not get through the next level of my page of multiplication problems in under the one minute deadline.
One day, I remember my teacher timing us. Near the end of the test, I had the distinct impression that she was looking at me. She knew I had been only a second or two late from fully completing that test for weeks. On that particular day, I managed to complete the test on time.
Did I actually complete the test in under a minute that day? Or did
my kind teacher just delay announcing “Time!”? (She may have done so, in order to give me the extra second or two I needed to complete the test.) To this day, I do not know for sure. Yet if I were to guess, it may very well have been the latter. She may have held off the buzzer, in order for me to make the cut. Kind of like what Peter is saying about God’s supposed “tardiness.”
God loves us enough to want to give us every possible opportunity to get to know Him, and to give all of our friends and neighbors the opportunity to know Him. We are not to predict, nor are we to wring our hands out of frustration that He has not come back yet. NO! We are called to worship Him, and to be messengers to others of the love of Christ. He wants to give everyone an opportunity to be in the Kingdom of the Lord. Do you?
What looks like tardiness from our perspective, is God’s love in action from His perspective! What a mind-blowing concept… Kind of like thinking that one day, and a thousand years are the very same…
Thank you, Lord, for Your desire and passion to want all people to be in Your kingdom. Help me to understand this desire, and give me patience when I think You are not keeping up with my timeline. Help me to focus on Your goal, and not on mine. Calm my heart, and give me the words to spread the word of Your passion for all. I pray this prayer in You Holy name.