II Peter 3:9
In the last twenty-two months, I did 3 funerals services – my brother, my wife, and my SIL – and buried my beloved Cocker Spaniel. I spoke to those fairly recently. And while one can never be sure about such things – I suspect I am the next to go. I am the patriarch, which means I am the oldest. I am not about to say I am in any great rush. but given what I know by faith to be my future address, neither am I at all dismayed. It’s out of my hands either way. I have all of the bases covered for the circumstance – costs and arrangements. My Pug is covered as well, although he is going to be more than a bit confused for awhile if I exit the globe first.
But beyond all of that, which is rather mundane, I look at and read about and listen to a world that seems to have lost its collective senses. Yet another school shooting – and it all under completely preventable circumstances, yet again. We have a media that has likewise lost its collective mind – little or no explanation necessary there. I look at the ongoing disintegration of the Church, under the various methods of the world, and I pray no souls are lost as that occurs. I could add many more examples – and many opinions, or lack thereof, by a great many – to the pile.
It’s real messy out there.
In all of it I, too, ponder the purpose for all of it. The living, the dying, the open evil and secret evil, the shrill voices of those who “know it all” – what is it serving? And I think of the great cry of Israel – echoed in the Psalms and Minor Prophets many times – “How long, O Lord?”
The only answer is found, in Christ, in the words of II Peter 3:9:
“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.”
The reality is that in the Garden, sin entered into, and corrupted this world originally perfect after Creation. And despite the best efforts of men to the contrary of accepting that one fact, only the intersection of time and eternity, outside Jerusalem, almost 2.000 years ago – where God fought the ruler of this world and won, is there hope for man. And because our lifespans are rather short, we have a rather immediate tendency to see God as being slow in His promise. But as St. Peter tell us, it is we who are “slow” – of mind and at times, faith – and that because – rather than trust the Word of God – we want to push up His schedule.
Such has never worked. In the Incarnation – Christ in the flesh and His death and Resurrection – God has been absolutely relentless in saving the souls of as many of His beloved children, whom we all are, as is Heavenly possible. He overlooks our lack of understanding that, or our impatience, because He also knows that “we don’t quite get it.” A child often does not understand why his father on earth may say “do this” or “think that” – no matter what we all thought at times growing up. It is “Father” doing what needs to be done and must be done, regardless of what we think.
Even Jesus, in his Humiliation – living in the flesh – did ask that “this cup” (His death) be passed from Him in Gethsemane. Yet He immediately acknowledged His Father’s will and said for us all –
“Not my will, but Thine be done.”
This Season of Lent of the Great Repentance, should call those words of Jesus to mind muchly, and embed them in our minds permanently. “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Daily, we forget those words, that thought, and yet Christ, in His great Passion and Death, remembered and said them for us that dismal night in Gethsemane. That night – God feared and knew the pain of death for Himself, and for us. He knew no sin, but became sin for us on that bloody tree. And the Father knew that pain and fear, and is still, to this day, being patient and forgiving with all of us, that none of us be lost. In Christ, He is NOT being slow, as some might see it. He is continuing to love us – which is His promise from the beginning – to love us.
His patience is proof.