The last two years have been rough for our world. First COVID brought a world-wide pandemic with multiple layers of shutdowns, mandates, and ever-changing rules. Fear and anxiety have wreaked havoc and unsettled so many. As a culture, we are more keenly aware that nothing is certain in life and that so much of our lives are outside of our control, and for many this is a terrifying revelation.
Now, as we begin to slowly climb out of the COVID mess, we are confronted with the ugliness of sin and war. The devastation and violence and darkness of sin can be greatly disturbing. Over the last week as I’ve been pondering all that has transpired in our world over the last two years, a passage in 2 Peter caught my eye.
“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.”
~2 Peter 3:8-10
Nothing takes God by surprise. He knows the end from the beginning. The COVID mess: already on His radar. The war in Ukraine: He saw that coming. And the comforting truth is that He always knows how everything will end. He is in control, and nothing is hidden from His sight. This passage in 2 Peter also reminds us that God is outside of time and therefore, does not operate on the same timetable we do. He is longsuffering and waiting to fulfill His promises not because He’s slow but because He is merciful and gracious.
This is important for us to remember because as we watch evil reign on this earth, we must remain confident in the truth that God is in control and is holding back His judgment out of mercy for the lost. But there will be a day when God will wait no longer. He will bring swift justice on sin and evil and will not relent. Everything will be destroyed when that day comes, and all hidden actions and intentions brought to light.
While this is encouraging to remember during evil times, the part of the passage that really stood out to me was this next section.
“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.”
~2 Peter 3:11-14
I love this challenge to think about what the future holds and live our lives in a way that reflects the knowledge we have of how the story will end. This earth is not our permeant home. We are waiting for a new heavens and a new earth where there is no sin, no sorrow, and no evil. So if we’re truly living for Christ and have our eyes fixed on eternity, what sort of people ought we to be?
Peter answers his own question at the end of the passage. We ought to be diligently spotless and blemish free by the power of Christ. And we are to be at peace. I find it interesting that out of all the different descriptions and character traits often used to define the Christian life, the attribute Peter challenges us to attain as we wait for Christ to return is peace.
Amid war, famine, hardship, calamity, evil, and suffering, God calls us to be at peace. He wants us to abide in His promises and trust Him through it all. We may not know how everything will turn out in the short term, but we do know the end of the story and that God will reign triumphant. And because of this knowledge and the assurance that we can trust our sovereign God, we can live at peace. We don’t need to fret, be anxious, or worry about what’s going on in the world, because we know Who is in control.
Are you at peace? Or is your mind filled with anxiety and worry? Is the uncertainty and turmoil of the times robbing you of a joy?
I encourage and exhort you to prayerfully ponder this passage in 2 Peter and place your whole weight of trust in God so that your soul may find lasting peace during this troubling time. Christians ought to be people at peace.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
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