Holy & Godly Waiting

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This meditation comes from Stephanie Wesley. It is based on 2 Peter 3:1-13, so you might want to read that first.

2 Peter 3 highlights a divine paradox concerning time, a paradox that presents interesting implications for the waiting process.

On one hand, God created the entire concept of earthly time. Yet, he himself exists outside the realm of time:

2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Through the lens of our humanity, we may perceive that we’re ‘waiting forever’ for God to act on our behalf or to answer a specific prayer, but in fact his “slowness” may have a whole lot less to do with the outcome as we expect it …

2 Peter 3:9a “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.”

… and a whole lot more to do with his greater purpose.

2 Peter 3:9b “Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Ultimately, our earthly existence, mired as it is in sin and brokenness both around and within us, is not the end game. Becoming the “best person we can be” is not our goal. Our earthly experience is preparation for what is to come.

2 Peter 3:12-13 “as [we] look forward to the day of God and speed its coming … we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

What if our earthly life—a fleeting blip on God’s timeline—is not lengthy as we perceive it, but is an important preparatory and incubating period? What if it’s not just for our own sake but for the sake and salvation of others because he wants “everyone to come to repentance?”

Matthew 18:14 “your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”

And what if, in the process of waiting, God wants to transform us?

2 Peter 3:11-13 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”

How do we lean into this opportunity to grow in godliness and holiness?

Certainly, the typical answers are worthy pursuits that yield great fruit: reflective prayer and scripture reading (alone or with others), as well as actively serving both fellow believers and unbelievers near and far.

But if we truly want to live holy and godly lives, my experience tells me that we need deep personal reflection—preferably with a wise friend, mentor, or counselor—during which we ask challenging questions:

“What parts of my character or areas of my life is God bringing to my attention that are ready for his pruning?”
“How would Jesus walk through this situation or make this particular decision if he was living my same life?”
“Which pursuits, distractions, or pleasures are earthly in nature and thus, getting in the way of me living out a godly life that anticipates eternity?”

I believe these sorts of questions lead us toward the holiness and godliness that 2 Peter 3:11 talks about. But I also have to honest: it can be hard to engage these sorts of questions as they ought to be engaged. After all, they lead us into God’s pruning shears and pruning can be so painful! What can we do?! How do we handle this??

It seems to me that we can look to 2 Peter 3 for advice. Peter not only calls us to live holy and godly lives, but he also provides us with motivation: for God is “slow” and “patient” because the end game is not earthly but eternal. While we wait for the “day of the Lord” (v.10), God is giving us every opportunity to repent and receive the grace to be changed into his likeness.

In other words, the waiting has purpose. We can be frustrated with God’s timing or we can thank God that God’s time is not our time. He seems to be providing more time so that more people can repent and so that all can grow in holiness and godliness.

I wonder that that might mean for me and for you as we go through our day today?

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