David Nasmith had a heart to bring the gospel to the poor in Glasgow, Scotland. On January 1, 1826, he opened the first city mission known in the Protestant world. This organization ministered to spiritual and physical needs, including preaching, worship services, literature distribution, health care and medical services, schools, visiting prisoners, and legal advocacy. His model inspired many other city missions around the world.
Nasmith shared God’s heart for all to be saved. It should encourage us that waiting is not only a human experience. In some mysterious way, it is a divine experience as well. God waits patiently because He wants “everyone to come to repentance” (v. 9). He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Though lengths of time mean nothing to Him (v. 8), He still chooses to “wait” as part of His plan. To us, this may feel “slow,” but it just means that God is patient in His promise-keeping. Patience is the virtue or attribute that empowers waiting.
God desires for His gift of salvation to be received by as many as possible. As the apostle Paul described it, He desires “the full number of the Gentiles [to] come in” (Rom. 11:25). He takes no pleasure in sending people to hell. Without this patience and love, there would be no reason for time to continue. The Day of the Lord might as well arrive immediately. When it does arrive, it will do so suddenly and disastrously, “like a thief” (v. 10).
How should we live while God waits (vv. 11–14)? We should live “holy and godly lives.” We should joyfully anticipate the Day of the Lord, for the old will be destroyed and “a new heaven and a new earth” will be born.
If God wants “everyone to come to repentance,” how can we want any less? Sharing the good news with others is an excellent way to learn and reflect the heart of God. Consider unbelievers He’s put in your life, such as family, friends, neighbors, or work colleagues. Pray for opportunities to witness through words and actions.