“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (Reference: 2 Peter 3:9-13 )
God is patient. And all things happen according to God’s time and not our time. Perhaps that is why some 2000 years after the writer of 2 Peter wrote this, we are still here. And perhaps that is why some 440 years after historic Anabaptist Jan Hendrickss was put to death we are still here. Hendrickss, like many others, wrote to his wife exhorting her to life a Christian life saying, “Let your meditation be in the word of the Lord, day and night concern yourself in His commandments and statues, and watch for His coming, and long for it, and avoid all appearance of evil, and act not as though you might live many years yet, but walk before the Lord just as if you were to die immediately.”
For many of the historic Anabaptists their best hopes for being reunited with family was when the Day of the Lord came and the Lord created a new heaven and a new earth for faithful believers. Earning a spot in that new heaven/new earth was where they hoped to be reunited with beloved friends and family for all time. If that day has not come, does that mean that the historic Anabaptists have still not yet been reunited? Or does the tremendous time between the writing of 2 Peter (and all the other gospels and letters), and the time between the historic Anabaptists now, mean that those passed from this old earth do not have to wait?
The question is, beloved, since we are now in the year 2014, and near the end of it at that, does all the waiting for new life in God still continue? It is easier to think that we need to wait if we do not anticipate the wait to be long. The gospel and epistle writers were sure that Christ would return soon. The historic Anabaptists were sure (I gather this from their letters) that the Day of the Lord would not be long in coming. But still we wait. And if this was not enough, I am writing this several days before you are scheduled to read it. And I am fairly certain my writing this will not bring about the end, anymore than the gospel/epistle writers and the historic Anabaptists writers writing were foretelling a speedy coming of the Day of the Lord.
Rather than living as if the Day of the Lord will come soon, we need to live as if the Day of the Lord is decades and centuries off. But that does not mean we can live any way we want! Quite the contrary! We need to live even MORE accountable lives! Each day we live longer than the day more, the more chances we have to go astray of the Lord. Each subsequent day brings dangers and dangers anew for sin and corruption, evil and vice.
We live in fearsome times, beloved. As fearsome as our spiritual ancestors, and more so. I pray for you beloved, as I pray for myself. May the Day of the Lord find us in good and correct relationship with our Lord. And may all the days until that last day may we draw courage, strength, endurance, and wisdom from our God. Selah!