Thanks For Your Patience

Before going on, pause and open your Bible.  Read the Second Lesson assigned for 2 Advent B:  II Peter 3:8-15aadvent_wreath2


A long time had gone by since Jesus, the Lord, ascended to heaven.  It was such a long time that the believers started to doubt his return.  The letters from well-meaning teachers and missionaries helped, but questions remained.  The faithful ones who had been part of this message from the beginning started to die, with questions unanswered and hopes unfulfilled.  What now—as they waited for Jesus’ return?  Were they wrong?  Was it all a lie?  Or did the promises of the Lord run beyond our sense of timing?

Our writer today says, “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you.” (2 Peter 3:9)And just like that, the slowness of the Lord’s coming is reinterpreted in 2 Peter.  The slowness of the Lord’s coming is not viewed as a disaster, or an embarrassment, or a sign of God’s weakness or impotence, but as grace, opportunity. 

“The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you.”    Instead of purposeless waiting, Peter explains, we can instead regard the patience of the Lord as salvation.  For salvation is not just in the great and mighty wonders, but in the little, day-to-day fulfillment of God’s Word. Ever-closer to that new day, the in-between time becomes an opportunity for personal assessment, even growth.

Ruth and Billy Graham were traveling through the mountains of Western North Carolina one afternoon, and they encountered several miles of road construction. There was one-lane traffic, there were detours…it was a little frustrating. Finally, they came to the end and they saw a road sign. Ruth Graham turned to her husband and said, “Those words, on that road sign, that is what I would like to have printed on my tombstone.”  The words on the road sign read: End of construction. Thanks for your patience.

Until we are constructed into all you desire:  thanks, God, for YOUR patience.  Amen.


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