Gleanings from the Lectionary (11/20/11) – He Doesn’t Mind the Wait

2 Peter 3:1-10

“The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

What we, especially skeptics and unbelievers, are inclined to write off as an empty promise, is yet another extension of unmerited favor (grace) toward people who do not deserve it. Always, always, always it is grace that transforms.

This time it is grace in the way of forbearance – not punishing when He could and even should, not closing the door to a dramatic change, a coming about, a new life. Lewis reflected upon it in Mere Christianity as I recall. He spoke of the players in the drama and how when the author walks out on the stage the play is over. You can’t choose then. It’s really over! He spoke of the futility in saying “I will lie down” when you can no longer stand up. The age for choice is over when Jesus comes.

How we experience this gracious forbearance is predicated upon our belief in judgment. If we don’t believe in judgment, forbearance is nice sentiment at best and potentially a straw man, nothing of substance there. If we believe in the end that God will have the last word as to how we spend the life after this one, forbearance will be a source of unspeakable comfort. Thank you Jesus for giving me a second chance. A third. A fourth. I’ve failed you. I have failed others. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for wishing I would experience mercy and not the justice properly due my choices thus far. Now, please Lord, help me get it right. Help me to repent and believe.

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