Lately I have found myself looking forward to lots of things. Looking forward to when we are all back together again at church. Looking forward to a stocked toilet paper aisle at the store. Looking forward to warm weather. Looking forward to that day—way in the future—when I pay off the house I just bought. Looking forward to summer camping trips, fishing with my grandson, new clothes, sunshine, dinner with loved ones, and some “me” time.
It’s funny that when I list out things I look forward to, they are centered on one main theme, “ me”. Things I want to have, things I want to do, and things that make me feel the way I want to feel. Not that all these things are bad or unnecessary, but the focus is still just plain ol’ me.
In 2 Peter 3, we are urged to look forward to something as well. This chapter has some pretty challenging stuff to think about. Peter is urging the church to live holy lives and to look forward to something bigger than themselves: the day of God. The funny thing is when I first read this chapter, the day of God seems like a pretty scary day and not something I would naturally look forward to. I want new clothes and sunshine, not destruction and fire! But when I read just a bit further I find that God wants new things, too: a new heaven and a new earth.
What a contrast to my little list of wants! A new heaven and new earth; that pretty much encompasses everything I could ever think of looking forward to! The whole purpose of this new heaven and new earth is so that righteousness has a place to live. Righteous people living with a righteous God, living in a new way in a new place. No sickness, no injustice, no fear, no night, no more unrighteous hearts and the unrighteous actions that cause so much hurt.
God is already righteous, so this day is not something He needs to look forward to for Himself. He longs for this day for us. God is looking forward to the day when we are in that new place with Him. Where our tears are wiped away, our clothes are new and bright, and we are finally released from sin and death. No wonder that in this chapter Peter urges the church to look forward to that day and to speed its coming. Peter knew that God’s focus of looking forward is about us. 2 Peter 3 is an excellent reminder to look forward to something bigger than my list of “me” and focus on a day that is truly worth looking forward to.