The Long Game
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not patient. I want what I want and I want it now. When I do not get my way, I can throw the 43-year-old equivalent of a tantrum. Those close to me know this is slightly less fun than when a three-year-old does it at the grocery store. I find myself doing this with God when He does not work on my timetable.
Peter insists however, that God’s timing is not my timing. When I am focused on me and my preferences, I have a very specific way I think the universe should run. I think that others should get what they deserve right now (punishment). I think that I should get what I do not deserve right now (grace). God however, plays a much longer game than I can see.
I have to admit that in my darkest times, when I am indulging the most in my pride, I will look on some and wish destruction upon them. I assume that we all have those people in our lives that we just want God to smite as in the days of old. God, how can you tolerate this person’s destructive behavior? They may be profoundly arrogant, condescending, difficult, angry, hurtful, self-obsessed or addicted to some destructive behavior. Whatever it is, it bothers me and I want God to intervene now. It is at those times that I must remember how patient God was with me. I need to remember my own need and I need to remain humble. I know that I have been that person that others wished God would smite.
At other times, my frustration is not with others, but with me. I get frustrated with how slow God’s process is. God, Why am I not perfect yet? Why have you not fixed me yet? Why do I still struggle? I need to try to see a little of God’s long game and be patient that he is still working on me. I will not be free of my flesh nature until I am free of my flesh, so I will not wish my life away. It is my defects that will, if I will allow them, keep me focused on God, so I need to learn to embrace my need instead of indulging in my impatience.
God is still working on me and on those around me. When I see the failures of others and me, I get a little fatalistic. They will never change! I will never learn my lesson! The truth is, that we will never be perfect in this life, but God is still working on us. He plays the long game and He is drawing us to himself in his timing, not ours.
My job is not to worry about God’s schedule. My job is to keep my eyes on Christ. I will not ever have the perspective that God has, but when my eyes are on him, I can at least understand that his timing is not mine and that He is always working on his plan.