Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
2 Peter 3:8-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,[a] not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.[b]
11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening[c] the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
Final Exhortation and Doxology
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.[d]
Final Exhortation and Doxology
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
What does it mean to wait for the coming of the fullness of the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God can be defined as whenever and wherever the will of God is done. You can hear it in the Lord’s Prayer that we often pray: “They kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Perhaps an even better term we could use for this reality is “realm of God.” I use the word “realm” with a purpose—we don’t live in a kingdom and aren’t much acquainted in our culture what that means, but the word “realm” captures the meaning beautifully. The word “realm” means a royal domain, like the term “kingdom,” but it also means “the region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails, or dominates.” [dictionary.com] So, I like that more inclusive term “realm”: the realm of God is “the region, sphere, or domain within which the will of God occurs, prevails, or dominates.”
Jesus was always pointing to the realm of God in his teachings. He was always calling people to live in the realm of God and looking to the time when all the world is the region, sphere, or domain within which the will of God occurs, prevails, or dominates. So, we wait for that to be the reality.
But, what does it mean to wait? We tend to think of waiting as a passive thing. When you’re waiting, you’re doing nothing, you’re bored, you’re just sitting there or standing in a line. Today’s passage of scripture, however, has a different view of waiting. It is active waiting. In this active waiting, we are to lead “lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” To hasten the time when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven is to live, love, and serve as Christ called us to do. What are we working and waiting for? “We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.”
What are you waiting for?
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster