You’d think we’d understand God’s patience better by now given how long it has taken some prophecies to take place. I mean, there seems to be prophetic references to Jesus not just in the prophets, but all throughout the Old Testament. Moses seems to talk about Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:15-19, which scholars think was written in either the 14th/13th century BC or the 7th century BC. Regardless of which century you choose, that’s still a good 700-1400 years of waiting for a prophecy to come true. That’s patience. Even if we fast forward to Isaiah, we still find that he prophesied around 740 to 690 BC, so even his words about Jesus took a good long time to come true.
Of course, we’re no stranger to waiting for prophecies to come true. We’ve been waiting a good 2000 years now for Jesus to return. Jesus himself didn’t know when he was coming back, but some of the things he said seemed to imply even he thought it’d be quicker than this. So we enter into the waiting game with him, recognizing that Christ’s return is not a mathematical equation to be solved or a knowledge that any man should carry, given that God-in-flesh himself did not carry it (Mt 24:36).
He waits out of love. 2 Peter 3:8-9 tells us that, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.”
John Wesley saw signs and wonders attest to the fact that God wished no one to perish. He writes about one of his services in his journal:
I was insensibly led, without any previous design, to declare strongly and explicitly that God willeth “all men to be” thus “saved;” and to pray, that, “if this were not the truth of God, he would not suffer the blind to go out of the way; but if it were, he would bear witness to his word.” Immediately one, and another, and another sunk, to the earth: they dropped on every side as thunderstruck.
God wants to save us all. Despite our backsliding sinful ways, he is giving as much time as he can to see as many people as possible repent and follow Christ. He is a jealous God. He wants the masses. One day for him is like a thousand years and it doesn’t phase him. Our conceptions of time do not line up.
It’s like when Aslan was getting ready to leave Narnia for some time. He told Lucy that he would be back soon, to which she asked, “What do you call soon?” His reply sounds just like what we’d expect God to say: “I call all times soon.”
And so we wait for whatever exactly it is that soon is, so that we might join with the love of God that eagerly desires that none should perish. For the supernatural prophecies of God are more patient than we could ever be.
Wesley, John, and John Emory. “April 24, 1739.” The Journal of the Reverend John Wesley. p. 129.
Lewis, C. S. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. p. 175.
This is an excerpt from my book, A Taste of Jesus.