The Advent Collective – 18 December 2020

A daily reflection drawing from Advent Bible passages – to help us grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.

Hello and welcome to the Advent Collective day 19. We’ve explored in some of the previous reflections how Advent is a season of waiting, of joining with the prophets’ longing for the birth of Jesus, but we’re also reminded that that was only the first half of the story, as we eagerly wait, with all of creation, for Jesus’ final return, when he will make all things new. And this second half of waiting is what we see in the passage for today, which is 2 Peter 3:3-13. Peter is writing to remind us that God is in control of the timing of Jesus’ return, that we can’t predict it, but that we should live ‘holy and godly lives’ as verse 11 says, while we wait. I’d encourage you to read the whole passage, but for now, verses 8 and 9 particularly stood out to me, which say: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises…

Just this week I have finished my job with Spectrum First, after just over years 3 of working in autism specialist student support – mentoring university students one to one, and helping to run the company administration and operations. It’s been an amazing job to have and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have learnt a lot more about autism, to have seen lots of students flourish not just in their degrees, but also in their understanding and acceptance of who they are and also to have gained a whole variety of different experiences as I’ve worked in the admin role. It has been, as all jobs are I’m sure, stressful at times, but overall I have really loved it!

I was thinking back to how I first got the job – after I graduated from university, I decided to do the STC college year, as it was known then, which was 2 days a week. I had prayed and weighed up a lot of options during my final year and, for a number of reasons, that felt like the right step to take. Around April of my final year of uni I started looking for a part-time job that ideally I could have over the summer and then would work around the college year. I applied for so many jobs in the following months, I lost count of how many altogether, and was just getting nowhere. I think I only had one interview out of the probably at least 100 jobs I applied for! (Which probably suggests I’m not very good at writing applications!!) It was a hard and frustrating few months as I felt like God had pointed me in the direction of the college year and so I had trusted him to provide a job that would work around that, but, in my opinion, he didn’t seem to be holding up his end of the bargain very well! It wasn’t until October of that year, 7 months later, that the opportunity to work as a mentor for Spectrum First came about and I was finally offered a job!

Looking back, I can see God’s hand over the timing of that year and I’m really thankful that it was Spectrum First who I ended up working for. I would actually say that I’m glad I didn’t get the many jobs I had applied for before that. Although it was hard to always recognise at the time, there were so many other ways that God provided during those long months and many things that I was forced to learn. What felt like an age to me at that point, was merely like a day in God’s grand scheme of things and I’m learning to trust that what I think in my head is the best way, isn’t always the case, and that God’s timing is indeed perfect.

Where might God be asking you to trust in his timing today? Where do you need to be patient in waiting for the breakthrough, and recognise what God is doing around you right now?

Peter, in today’s passage was specifically referring to the timing of Jesus’ return – we might look around the world at the moment and wonder what an earth God is up to, or think, wouldn’t it all be easier if Jesus just returned right now?! This passage is an encouragement to trust in God’s timing. Peter reminds us that God has got it under control, that he isn’t slow in keeping his promises, but that he longs to give everyone a chance to come to know him, and actually, that’s the most important thing. So when we feel like time is dragging, or we wish God would hurry up, let’s stop and recognise what opportunities we have around us, right now in the present, and recognise the places where God might be using us in an unexpected way to reach out to others with his love and his hope.

Let’s pray…Lord, thank you that you are not slowing in keeping your promises, help us to trust that today, fill us with your hope I pray…Amen.