The people of Judah are not in a good place. The Babylonian Empire, the biggest bully on the geopolitical block in the sixth century B.C., has destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple and has deported many of God’s people off to exile in Babylon. Surely, it must seem that God has either forgotten them or is not as powerful as the gods of the Babylonians. It’s been hard for the Judeans to accept Jeremiah’s insistence that they have been judged for their idolatrous ways and unjust behavior. Whatever they may think of the why of their situation, they have no hope for a bright future. There seems to be no way out of their exile.
But God can always make a way. Though it might be difficult for the people to accept, especially since it is far off into the future, Babylon will be judged and God’s people will return to their land. It must be remembered that judgment in the Bible is always redemptive. The judgment of Judah will result in restoration. No matter how bad things may seem, there will be light at the end of the exilic tunnel.
Not only must we remember that judgment is redemptive, we must also embrace the virtue of patience. God’s timeline often is not ours. God has the bigger picture in mind when we are so narrowly focused. When the recipients of the letter of 2 Peter wonder why Jesus had yet to return, the author reminds them that God does not reckon time as we do, and if there is a delay it is for the purpose of redemption.
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).
God is not slow in making a way; often his people are in too much of a hurry. Whatever we face, God is making a way. We may not see it, nor will the way necessarily be a road we expect, but let us not lose hope. Patience is a necessary virtue for those who follow Jesus.