So, just a little bit longer?

But don’t forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to change their ways and stop sinning. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

In days gone by the reminders to "be ready" for the Second Coming of Christ were pretty much commonplace. Today we seldom hear those words echoed from the pulpits. Do you ever stop to wonder why? I think it is because we are trying to create "seeker friendly" places where people can come into church gatherings and not be frightened by the "churchy" things we might say and do as Christians. I totally support creating an environment that is welcoming to the sinner and open to the seeker. I also strongly support an environment that preaches the entirety of the gospel message and the truth of the Word. Put both of those together and you have the "best" combination! We must always keep in mind there is this promise of Christ's return - the Second Coming as some might refer to it. The issue is not "when" this return might occur, but simply that we live well in anticipation of our deliverance from the limitations of this earthly body!

If his "first coming" has been effective in our lives, we will be ready for his second coming! It doesn't matter when Christ comes again - it matters that we are found ready to live on for eternity giving God the glory he rightfully deserves! When grace has had time to change our hearts, minds, and ultimately our soul, we begin to live for the glory of God - we live "ready" lives. The delay in his coming is so that his grace may have the chance to touch the lives of many who obviously take their "dear sweet time" allowing that grace to impact their lives! God's timing is perfect, and we should not become frustrated in the waiting. I want us to see this delay as an actual means by which his grace may touch the lives of those we have been praying for over the years. The wait may seem long in our eyes, but in his timing, it is like a split second has passed. To us the years of praying and agonizing over the loved ones who haven't experienced this grace yet seems almost unbearably long. To God, it is undeniably short! To him, that delay is the opportunity many require in order to experience this grace.

We are getting to the place of real "change" in our lives as he delays. At the moment we accept his grace, we are forever changed, but in our daily lives this change may not be totally evident. The delay actually grows our faith and the opportunity to "work out" change is what makes us lean into him a little more each day. We are powerless to change on my own - because change is hard work, and we tire under the burden of change. It takes a toll on us mentally, physically, and especially emotionally. God's delays in our lives may just be so we will realize the need for mental clarity, physical renewal, and emotional balance - something only his grace fully operationalized in our lives can produce.

You have probably heard the little acronym for GRACE: God's Riches At Christ's Expense. We don't understand the riches of God's grace until we experience the change grace brings into our mental, physical and emotional lives. We need time to fully experience how his grace will transform, or re-create the way we think and process information, the stamina and fortitude to perform our daily work, and the life-altering freedom of being controlled by the unreasonableness of our wayward emotions. To this end, he gives us time with him - learning of him, learning from him, and learning to live in him. When this has been fully accomplished, grace has done its work! We live out grace in the hopes another will see and experience the grace of God in theirs. Until he returns, share his grace. Just sayin!

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