...what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God... (2Peter 3:11b-12a)
I wrote yesterday on how some of God's servants of Old, Joseph and Habakkuk, and some of his servants today, had to wait with patience and endurance, maintaining their faith until the promises in the word of God were fulfilled for them.
But Biblical waiting is not a passive activity. It's not like waiting for a bus. Our lives are not on hold until the promise is fulfilled. Peter talks about waiting and hastening. Because for God the right time is not about the passage of days, months and years, but about the fulfilment of all he intended a given season to accomplish.
It is this tension that many fail to grasp, and either get discouraged and give up when they pray once and nothing happens immediately, or they become passive adopting a "It will happen in God's time" attitude. "It will happen in God's time" is absolutely true, but we need to grasp that we have a vital part to play in the hastening of God's time. It's not that he is slow and we need to twist his arm to move him along. Peter spells it out quite categorically that that is not the case. But in fulfilling the purpose of God in the season we are in we bring it closer to completion, and bring the next season closer to its appearing.
With each prayer we pray, with each day we live seeking first his Kingdom and his righteousness, we are one step closer to the fulfilment of the promise of God over our lives than we were before.
The prophet Habakkuk was given a vision that awaited the appointed time, but he was not instructed to sit on it, but to run with it! He was a man who knew of God's fame, all the mighty acts he had done in the past. And he was the one who saw that despite all the evil amongst the nations of his day, the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. Yet he did not live in nostalgia of the past, or daydreaming of the future - he passionately cried out for God to move in the midst of the years - in his time, and in his day.
This is at the very heart of what it means to be God's prophetic people. Not just to see what God wants to do tomorrow, but to lay hold of it in faith and bring it into today. Both waiting with patience and endurance, and hastening with passion and zeal.