It was so sad listening to two girls, one around twelve years old and the other a 24 year old Cambridge university graduate, both frantic with fear about their future and what’s going to happen because of climate change. So was a young boy when he arrived home from school, because they’d been taught that day we’ll all be under water in 15 years because of rising sea levels.
So what could we say from Scripture to ease their fear? Or do we as Christians believe the end is near as well? Well, why not, when verses like 1 Peter 4:7 (“the end is at hand”) and Romans 13:11 (“now is our salvation nearer”) have stirred Christians through the ages to wondering “Is God about to wrap things up soon?” – and especially in times of war when evil cares nothing for the planet or people.
“A good war might be just what we need, though,” a young man told me, “it would knock the population down and give us breathing space for a while.” I can’t blame him for thinking that way because he’s got a lot of life to live yet, and it doesn’t look good for him the way things are. That being the case, wouldn’t it be better, then, if God did wrap things up soon, got this agony over with, cleaned out the lunatics and started again with Christ in charge? God could certainly do that, so what’s he waiting for?
But “bear in mind,” Peter writes, “that our Lord’s patience means salvation,” 2 Peter 3:15. God’s focus is on saving people, not getting rid of them. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” verse 9. For how long will he wait, though? Because in the mess we’re in we can’t last much longer, surely.
But, Peter replies, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness,” verse 9. God’s definition of slow has nothing to do with time. It has everything to do with “keeping his promise.” And what is that promise? It’s to make a “home of righteousness” for us, verse 13. He’s building a world for us that won’t have the problems our world has.
How? By transforming us. By making human beings “spotless, blameless and at peace with him,” verse 14. Think what the Earth would be like if everyone was like that. Well, that’s exactly what God is patiently putting together for us, so we’ll have a home that will last us forever.
And he’s not being slow about it, either. According to Peter, God’s smack on target because he keeps his promises. That perfect home we all hope for one day is in the works.…