One of the things I find frustrating at a ministry conference is the lack of time that I take with Jesus on a personal level. Note that I did not say “time I don’t get” or “time I can’t find”…because those would be lies, just like they are lies that I make up at home (and most likely, so do you). I’ve “found” time to wake up early, to run daily, to stay up late, to spend time in relationship. This morning, I grabbed the time, and simply read the “verse of the day” from my Bible app.
“The LORD is not slow to keep his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, his is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”- 2 Peter 3:9.
Every single time I’ve given a message on this verse, every time I’ve included it…it’s been about the hypothetical “Why hasn’t God done ‘x’?” “Where is He?”
As I reflected on it today, as I sit in the hotel lobby, knowing that I’ve neglected intimacy with Him over the past few days, I came upon the realization that this verse is, well, about me.
I’ve wondered where He is…why our house has yet to sell, why our church will go through the pain, loss and transition of two youth ministers in 1 year, why I’m caught in anger and bitterness…in the midst I’m simply wondering why He has not acted. The answer?
He’s waiting for my repentance. Not that it’s a magic bullet because sometimes, houses don’t sell, people transition and we are, after all human, so sin is a very real aspect of our natures. Yet, here’s the truth…
He’s not slow to answer because 11 months to sell a house is nothing compared to eternity. He’s not slow to answer because neither our church, nor our students need another person to lead them. He’s not slow to answer because I’ve taken the situations of the last months and kept them pent up.
He is simply waiting for us, for me, really, to “come to repentance.” To realize that it all needs to go to Him, and I need to act and respond differently. He is waiting for me to change. Because That’s what the verse says. My house may never sell. We may not “find the right person.” And, there will be an increase in responsibility at work. And, in all of this…
All weekend long at the conference, we’ve been passing around green books that are filled with questions that youth workers respond to and pass on to the next person, I should get my book back tomorrow, filled with responses, information and encouragement from others.
To the question, “What is the key to happiness?”, I’ve written “Joy in adversity.”
To the question, “Write a one-sentence motto for life that summarizes how you try to live”, I’ve written, “There is a cost and a joy to all things worth doing.”
Both of these answers require repentance, because God’s waiting to deliver me. Not from bad credit score, but from my sin. God’s waiting to minister to our students, not through a single person, but through the work of the Spirit and not FROM my situation, but THROUGH it. Because each of those initial “from’s” are examples of “as some understand slowness.”
What God really wants to deliver me from, from US from, is well, US.
God, grant me the mercy and grace of repentance. Thank you for allowing me to journey to it, thank you for allowing me to understand both the cost and the joy of the hurt, the journey and the freedom that you bring. Thank you for your “slowness”. Thanks for not just “fixing” me as a “one point in time moment”, but for “fixing me” as we journey together.
It’s my hope and prayer thay you find this cost, this joy, today.