We know that the Lord is slow to anger. It is one of His defining characteristics, one which He Himself identifies while He is on the mountaintop with Moses.
But in 2 Peter, we are told that there is a way in which the Lord is not slow. 2 Peter 3:9 says:
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.
Now, this is an interesting verse for many reasons, but what caught me was that Peter is saying that God fulfills His promises not slowly, but patiently. We may think that God works slowly in His promise keeping (or we may think that He doesn’t work at all) but Peter reminds us in the same breath that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and ta thousand years as one day.
He does not think in terms of slow and fast when it comes to fulfilling His purposes. God works His will based around His own great patience with us! Don’t we tend to get this one backwards? We think that it is us who need to be patient with God as He works out the course of His will, but He is constantly displaying patience with us as we stumble around in the darkness of our own hearts and minds, seeking to carve out our own path, which ultimately leads us to hell if not for God’s great mercy.
He shows us this patience because His desire is that we be saved. I’m not going to get into the incredible tension that Peter holds as it relates to God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, but the point in this verse is that in delaying the fulfillment of His promise to return, God is graciously giving time for us to turn and trust in Him. He wants that, and as long as there is breath, there is time.