By Benjamin H. Liles
"Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:8-9, Berean Study).
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be dissolved in the fire, and the earth and its works will not be found. Since everything will be dissolved in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to conduct yourselves in holiness and godliness as you anticipate and hasten the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will be dissolved by fire and elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with God's promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:10-13, Berean Study).
When it comes to scriptural evidence of God's patience towards us Moses penned this about the Lord: "Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust and say, 'Return, O children of men.' For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away" (Psalm 90:1-6, New American Standard).
I think it goes to show just how patient Gos is with and toward us. But we put Him in a rather tough spot. Peter says this before he talks about just how patient the Lord is in His return, "First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation'" (2 Peter 3:3-4, Holman Christian Standard).
It means that while some will do as they please and question when or even whether God will return, we see Peter's basis for saying, "Look, God gives us His word and He will accomplish it; be it yesterday, which seem like forever, but in fact are not. He will return and this place, this planet and everything there in will burn." That's the essence of what He's saying.
But Peter adds something wonderful to this as well and it is directly to and for us, those who love and desire after the Lord: "Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:11-13, World English, bold mine).
Peter is telling us more than just that God is patient. He's telling us, for those of us who are called to be God's partners, His children of grace and mercy, to partake in Him and His righteousness. We are to be living holy lives, to be godly, and to look toward the day when He comes back to give us "new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." God is righteous and He will gather those of us who are called and loved by Him to be with Him forever.
Jesus Christ told His disciples and it even includes us as well: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there yo prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going" (John 14:1-4, Berean Study).
When it comes to the phrase "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day" (2 Peter 3:8), means we will be with Him and one day will be as a thousand years and a thousand years will be as one day. Since I'm not in the place of God I can't tell you His thinking on that phrase means exactly that, but when it comes to Peter's letter here he's talking about God's patient and enduring love toward us.
Friend, if you are reading these words today and you feel you have been missing something in your life God can and will fill that vacant space. He's been calling out to you as a man in love with a woman, tenderly and in merciful kindness. His desire is to woo you gently, to bring you back into the fold. God is the woman trying to find that one lost coin, or the father searching for the Prodigal. He sent Jesus here to atone for our sins so that you can see the depth of His love for you. This is God's patience toward you. That first day you were born, God saw it as though it were a thousand years ago. He sees you now kneeling at His altar giving yourself over to Him, seeing Him as a child desires and needs their father. He calls for you to gently come back home. I pray this blesses and assures you God loves you and He wants you to feel blessed, assured, that because of His righteousness you are righteous too. In the name of Jesus I write these words. Amen.