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God is not Slow

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. 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. 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.—2 Peter 3:8-10

God is not slow, he is patient. It is we who are slow. Slow to repent from our vices and slow to live lives of holiness and godliness (3:11). If God appears to be slow, or even late, it is because he is patient with us “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” According to Peter, our waiting is also our mercy. That is why he says “count the patience of our Lord as salvation.” It is because he is patient with the ones he loves that any can be saved.

But patience is not the same as waiting. Patience is an adjective, or more specifically, it is an attitude. While waiting is a verb, or more specifically, an action. One could wait patiently or without patience. And according to Peter, God is patient in his waiting for us. But God does not wait forever, eventually, time will run out, and “the day of the Lord will come like a thief…” (3:10).

If God is delayed, it is not because he is slow but because he is patiently waiting for humanity to repent so that no one may be lost. But eventually, his waiting will end. But until that day, let us quickly come to God to receive mercy, that we may say with Paul,

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.—1 Timothy 1:16


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