My Mean, Greedy Treatment Counselor
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. 2 Peter 3:9
When I first met my inpatient addiction treatment counselor, she seemed like a kind, caring person. I had one goal at that point though – to get out of treatment as fast as possible. I misinterpreted her gentleness, thinking it meant she’d be easy to manipulate. She was not. Twice, she added time to my stay in treatment. I was furious. I no longer found her to be kind and caring. Rather, I found her to be mean and vindictive. My fellow residents informed me she was also greedy, prolonging my time simply to collect more of my insurance money.
Looking back, I can see the absurdity of my anger and frustration. My desire to get what I wanted twisted my perspective so that I completely misjudged her. She wasn’t easy to manipulate, and she wasn’t mean or greedy. She honestly desired what was best for me. She wanted me to find recovery, and she could tell I needed more time. But because her will opposed mine, I assumed evil intent on her part.
In today’s passage, Peter pointed out how we do this with God – misunderstanding his motives and actions. In the preceding verses, Peter explained how some of us will misinterpret God’s patience. Where is the promise of his coming (2 Peter 3:4)? God’s timing isn’t our timing. Where we see slowness or inaction, God is patient (2 Peter 3:8). It is his great desire that we all come to repentance and abandon our self-destruction, experiencing an intimate relationship with him. This may not be our goal, but it’s his and he’s God.
Usually, we go to God, demanding that our life difficulties be ironed out. He sees those difficulties however, as the trials that will shape us into what he wants us to be. We go to God, asking him to fix our problems, when we should be asking him to fix us. When we don’t get exactly what we want – perhaps because it’s not God’s plan – we’re easily frustrated with him. Are you even there? Don’t you care? Why are you so mean? Our view of God is twisted by the demand that our lives work out exactly the way we think they should. God wants me to be miserable. Otherwise he’d fix my circumstances. God, however, desires that we learn to experience joy in our relationship with him. Our happiness doesn’t come from getting exactly what we want. Rather, we find life, joy, and peace – despite life’s circumstance – only in an intimate relationship with him.