Good morning. It is Wednesday, March 23, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
Yesterday, on my early morning trek, I met a train in the sleepy little town of Merlin. The crossing arms were down and as I slowed to a stop, the train’s engine and cars came up alongside my car and passed in front of me. It took only a couple of minutes and then I was on my way. It is odd to see a train at that time of day. In fact, I think in the almost 2 ½ years that I have driven that route, I have encountered maybe 3 trains, if that. It happened again this morning! Two days in a row. Same scenario; like in the movie Ground Hogs Day. In the distance through the trees, I could see a train in motion. I approached the crossing arms, which were down. As I came to a stop, the train’s engine and cars came up alongside my car and passed in front of me. It caused another delay.
Delays. They can be a major inconvenience.
Last Friday I was trying to get out of town to visit my mom for the weekend. I grabbed my overnight bag to pack, only to realize my clothes were still in the washing machine. Delay.
I had been dealing with a bank issue and knew I had to get it taken care of before leaving town. I had tried multiple times via phone and on-line to no avail. I headed in town. I have never been in a bank as long as I was on Friday. Close to 45 minutes! Delay.
As I got back in my car with the plan to gas up and get on the freeway, I grabbed my phone to update my mom, it was dead! How on earth? It had been off the charger maybe 6 hours by that time. It normally lasts 12 hours.
I now drive a jeep and there is no USB port to charge my phone. I decided I needed to stop by my work and take the time to charge my phone. I did not want a near 4-hour drive with a dead phone. Another delay? Thankfully my boss was there and after explaining the situation he grabbed an adaptor for my car lighter. After waiting in a long line at the gas station I was finally on my way.
Does that ever happen to you? You have a plan. You make all the arrangements, only to be delayed.
But what about when God delays, what should we do?
Number 1…trust Him. There is no number 2. Trust that He is always working for your good and His ways are bigger than our ways. Trust Him!
I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago about the 2nd coming of Jesus. I said, “If I had it my way, Jesus would come today! However, are my kids ready? Are my grandchildren ready?” Are the people closest to me ready to meet Jesus? Have they given their lives to Him? Have they confessed their sins and accepted that gift of eternal life?
It has been over 2,000 years since Jesus died on the cross. Surely it is time. Century after century of suffering. Lord, it has been so long.
There is an answer.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us why Jesus has not come yet. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” NKJV
He is not willing that any should perish! He wants everyone to see His goodness and mercy and accept His death on the cross as a precious gift from Him. But He will not force anyone.
I like The Message version of this verse: “God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”
God is patient. He is giving us space and time to change.
We can look at the story of Noah and see God wanting to save more than 8 people.
1 Peter 3:20 “…when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”
He was long suffering. It took Noah and his sons 120 years to build the ark. And although the story in Genesis 6 does not say he preached; we can look at 2 Peter 2:5 which describes him as a preacher. We can know that he preached to the people who came to see this odd site. A boat, very large, nowhere near the water. And rain? Water had never fallen from the sky before. He must have sounded so crazy. But he preached.
“and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;” 2 Peter 2:5 NKJV
Noah peached. God would not have sent a flood to destroy the world without a proper warning for the people. Likewise, he will not send His Son a second time without a proper warning. God wants to save every single person. He will not destroy the earth with fire, without a warning.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” 2 Peter 3:10-12 NKJV
That is why He delays. But the day is coming. Just like in Noah’s day there are those who make fun and joke.
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV
It was business as usual until the flood came and took them away.
Look at the story of Lot.
“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:28-30 NKJV
It was business as usual until fire and brimstone (sulfur) rained from heaven and destroyed them all.
Both Matthew and Luke end their stories telling us it will be just like that at the end of time when Jesus comes again.
Isaiah 24:19-23: gives us vivid imagery on what that day will look like. “The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.” NKJV
Yes, there are those who do not believe, but it will happen.
“…scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7
So, what should we do as we wait?
James 5:7 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”
Fight the good fight. Run the good race. Just do not give up!
“Therefore…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV