But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation.
Advent season never fails to remind me to slow down. Maybe as I’ve reencountered this passage in the final stretch of the semester, faced with lingering uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and continuing news reports of racial injustice, I am drawn to the repeated references to patience in this passage: “The Lord is patient toward you… that all should reach repentance… We are waiting for new heavens, and a new earth… The patience of our Lord should be counted as salvation.”
Then, the very end of this passage says, “… be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” I’m not sure how I’ve missed the “at peace” part of this command. Historically, I’ve read this passage and focused on being found by the Lord without spot or blemish; a perceived call, on my part, to be a “better” person, to be “more” righteous.
In this prolonged period of waiting, I find myself wondering, can I be at peace in a season of waiting? Can I not wish myself through yet another month, but instead be patient in the busyness? Aren’t periods of waiting and anticipation where change and growth occur? “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you.” In His patience, I can experience growth. I can experience repentance. I can experience transformation.
This brings me comfort this Advent. I do not have to magically be better through my own, doomed-to-fail efforts at being without spot or blemish; rather, as I wait in peace and in expectation for the Lord, He is patient toward me. In this season of Advent, anticipating the birth of Christ, can I find comfort in the waiting for answers to God’s promises? Can I be patient, waiting for a new world where righteousness reigns? In this season of hopeful expectation and waiting, be patient, and be at peace, friends.
Dr. Lauren Berkshire Hearit is an assistant professor of communication at Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.