December 17, 2015

Hasten the Day

2 Peter 3:8-13

Live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

—  2 Peter 3:11-12

For children, Christmas can’t come soon enough. They fidget while trying hard to be nice, and they wake each morning hoping the wait is over. As we grow older, we lose interest in hastening the day. Honestly we’d rather slow time down if we could. In our adult realism we wonder what Peter could possibly mean when he tells us to speed the coming of the day of God.

Commentaries say that a Jewish tradition had grown from Isaiah 60:22: “I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.” This tradition wondered what would have to take place for God to act swiftly. One interpretation claimed that if everyone would be righteous for just one day, then the Messiah could come.

Some of that thinking may lie behind Peter’s comment. Peter teaches that the day seems delayed to us because God does not want anyone to perish. Could it follow that if everyone repented, then the need for God’s patience would be removed and we could speed the day’s coming?

But that would leave too much in our hands. Scripture teaches that Christ’s coming is not up to us. But our realism can also dilute our motivation for living holy and godly lives. To inspire this kind of living, we need to find a little of the childish faith that hopes this will be the day.

Come, Lord Jesus, come ­quickly!

Patient God, grant us childlike, trusting faith that is eager for your coming. May we always turn to you and live in the way you call us to, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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