Have you ever heard someone say, “God’s timing is perfect”? I did, just today. It’s a phrase we like to use when God seems slow in answering our prayers. Peter calls out that big old elephant in the room for us. He starts out by explaining that God’s clock works differently than ours. “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”
Is that a helpful reminder for you? Are you waiting on God for something big in your life to happen? It seems like we are always waiting for something, whether it’s a job promotion, finding the right house to move into, getting pregnant, getting married, being able to retire and start living life the way you want. What is it for you? When we welcome God and expect him to move in these life events, we can trust he is working out the “best” solution for us. Could that be why one of the gifts of the spirit is “patience”? We must continue to wait.
In our last reading, we explored how faith is a gift from the Lord along with his promise we can reflect his divine nature. This text gives us more insight into how we should respond to this gift. Apparently, we need to “take action” to enjoy the richness of the promise’s fulfillment.
To accomplish this task, Peter teaches us how to acknowledge and handle the gift we’ve been given. I’m guessing Peter expected people would not take advantage of all God has to offer. It’s helpful to know a response is needed so we don’t leave God’s promise behind. Did the prescription Peter outlines seem a bit daunting?
What are you waiting on right now? Maybe it’s news from the doctor on a test. Maybe it’s a box of goodies in the mail. Maybe it’s that vacation you just booked. We all share in the wait for Jesus’ return, and James calls it out plain as day in this text. Are you feeling patient today? James said, “Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.”
James has us think about farmers. Think of the patience it requires to plant seeds every spring and then wait. Wait to see if the seeds sprout like they’re supposed to. Wait to see if the rains come at just the right time. Wait for storms to pass so you can assess the damage. Wait for the crops to be ready for harvest. That’s a lot of waiting. But farmers accept the wait. They know it’s all part of the plan.
God doesn’t respond here to Jeremiah’s cry for answers. What do you make of his non-response? Does God assume that by now Jeremiah would understand what is coming? Perhaps Jeremiah didn’t expect the timeline of events to be happening so soon. Perhaps Jeremiah still hoped God would change his mind.
How do you behave when you’re waiting for God to answer your prayers? Are you patient or persistent? Sometimes I feel like a broken record repeating the same prayers over and over. In that way I’m persistent, but I can’t say I’m all that patient.
Paul is packing a lot of wisdom into these last few verses. We should not rush past the message that might be screaming at us today. For me, the message was to be patient with people! I don’t know about you, but I can be very impatient when people don’t act in the way I expect. This may be exactly the message I need to hear today.
Lazy, timid, and weak people are also featured here. Yet, bottom line, Paul says we are called to be patient with “everyone,” not just the lazy, timid, and weak. Do you resonate with one of these distinctions of the human condition?