8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.2 Peter 3:8 KJV
This verse in Peter’s second letter is interesting because of how it describes God. God does not experience the passage of time the same way that we do. It is been said that God is eternal. So, the very idea of “time” for God is probably nonsensical. But for us, that is a notion that we struggle to make sense of because our experience of time is not like that.
Peter says that one day for God is like “a thousand years” for us. And that a thousand years for us is as “one day” for God. That seems repetitive. And it is to a certain extent. What we must keep in mind is what this is describing. It is describing a relationship between how we perceive things and how God perceives things.
A thousand years ago the world look very different than it does today in the 21st century. The changes that have occurred in the last 100 years are more drastic than what happened in the previous 900 years. And we look back on that time and cannot fathom having to live in those circumstances or conditions. And this is the reality this verse is drawing our attention to.
There are so many times when I’ve had conversations about God’s timing. Why doesn’t God do this? Or why can’t God do that? These are fair questions from our perspective because we recognize that our lives will come to an end. And it’s this finite reality of life that causes us to want for God to act more quickly. What this reveals is a basic misunderstanding about God’s will for the world.
While God cares for us and desires for each of us to experience the fullness of his love and grace, there is a greater purpose for which God is at work. We do not always understand it. In many ways, we feel like we never will. But this does not change the fact that God’s will is God’s primary focus.
So, the feeling of frustration we feel when God seems to delay his activity or intervention is based on a presumption we should challenge. That presumption is that God is obligated to fulfill our requests when we asked them. But this is not the case. We must grow in our humble submission to God’s plan and purposes for the world.
The fact that for God one day is as a thousand years is a reminder that what God is doing he has been doing for a long time. And because God has been at work for far longer than we have existed we should not lose heart when we do not get what we ask for when or how we asked for it. We should remember that what God is doing will be of greater value to the whole of creation and to us individually than anything we could ever have imagined for ourselves.
As each day passes and as we draw closer to Easter morning I pray we would pause and remember God’s faithfulness endures. The fact that God’s timeline follows a longer arc than our own should give us comfort. But many of us have to learn to rest in that. And that takes time. Time is something God has more of than any of us. So he can wait on us to catch up to him.