Today’s post is by Andrew Hall. Andrew is the Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church in Ilderton, Ontario (a small community just outside of London). He and his wife, Melanie, have been married for over 13 years and have four kids. Andrew studied at Providence College University in Otterburne, MB and received my M.Div from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and blogs at cruciformity.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewWHall.
Have a headache? Pop a liquid gel caplet and within 30 minutes it’s working. Hungry? Place your dish in the microwave and enjoy a hot dish in 30 seconds. Want to find and read a book? Go online and download it within 15 seconds and start reading. Want to contact someone? Text them to get an immediate response.
The blessings of living in an instantaneous society mean that we become accustomed to the immediacy and availability of everything. But the moment you are on hold on the phone for 15 minutes or wait for paperwork to come in the mail, we can become antsy. “Where is it?” “Why is it taking so long?” Impatience flares up and agitation grows.
“Behold, I am coming soon,” says the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 22:12), and nearly two thousand years has passed. We can begin to doubt the imminent return of Christ, living like everything is continuing on as it was from the beginning of creation until now. While we don’t say it out loud, we can live in a way that says, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:4).
Waiting feels very passive: standing in line, being on hold, waiting for the microwave to beep all feel like we do nothing until something happens. Is it possible that our perception of Christ’s delay in returning causes some lethargy in us as well? An impatience with God? A sense of frustration that things aren’t getting “fixed” in our lives as quickly as we would like?
It is a good thing that God is not like us and is incredibly patient. The fact that Christ has not returned is evidence of God’s great kindness toward us. We may think, “If I were God, I would eradicate all evil NOW!” Our outrage at injustice and evil in the world can cause us to accuse God of inactivity. But if we were to get rid of all the evil in the world, we would have to rid the universe of all potential evil. But what about our capacity for being mean-spirited, accusatory, assuming the worst of another? Are we ready to give an account for all of our actions?
“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,” says Peter (2 Peter 3:9). Christ has not yet come because God is kind and holds out the offer of salvation. His patience is our opportunity to be active.
Maybe God’s patience is for you. Have you turned from trusting yourself and relied upon Christ? Or maybe an opportunity to turn from sin and repent afresh (1 John 3:2-3).
Or maybe God’s patience is for someone you know and love. Have you shared with them the good news of life in Christ through repentance and faith?
Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2)! Believe! Obey! Share! And thank God that his patience is for our mercy!