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That None Should Perish

“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.” 2 Peter 3:9 ESV


The breath you have in your lungs right now is a gift. It’s evidence of the life within you. It proves your body is functioning as it should. It shows that you have a purpose. Why else would you be breathing, if not to serve a purpose?


Our purposes differ and oftentimes change as we go through life, yet they all have the same roots. Our lungs, bodies, lives: yes, they belong to us, and yes, we control them (for the most part), but the control we think we have is the result of a gift.


Sure, our brains control how and when we move, therefore, we are in control, but this control is on loan. The One who created these bodies—and all things, for that matter—is ultimately the One in control.

Scrabble tiles spelling three words: exhale, inhale and repeat

He knew us before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13-16). He made us in His image (Gen. 1:26-27). He made us for Himself (Romans 11:36, Col. 1:16).


It may seem ridiculous and hard to grasp, but it’s true. The Creator of all things good made you exactly how He wanted and He did it with the desire for you to spend eternity with Him (John 3:16-17, 17:3). Whatever your past, whatever your shortcomings, whatever your circumstances, the One and Only God longs to dwell with you forever. And yes, when I say “you,” I mean you!


Contrary to what you may have heard about God, He is not some foreboding, controlling, hateful being who’s eager to judge us when we make a mistake. Nor is He one of many ways to reach eternal bliss, the place where all you need to do to get there is be a good person.


God is none of those things. So who is He?


He is Lord, our Father (John 1:12-13, 1 John 3:1). He is patient, compassionate and merciful (Ex. 34:6, 2 Peter 3:9). He is eternal and the Giver of abundant life (John 10:10, 1 Tim. 1:17). He is infinitely greater than any of us could imagine (Isaiah 40:28). He is the One who wants you (1 Tim. 2:3-4).


You may not feel worthy, but friend, please hear me: God knows that and He wants you anyway.


It’s not a hyperbole or cliché to say He knows more about you than you do, it’s the truth. God knows every hair on your head, every sinew between your muscles and every cell in your body. He knows your yesterdays, today and tomorrows. He knows every thought you’ve entertained and every one you’ve suppressed. He knows the first word you spoke, the last you’ll speak and the one you will say next (Psalm 139:1-4).


You may not feel worthy, but friend, please hear me: God knows that and He wants you anyway.

There is literally nothing about you God does not know because He is the One who put it all there. He made your eyes the color they are. He made your sense of humor. He made your heart and the blood that pumps through it. He made all of it, and He did it with intention.


There might be parts of you—or even your life—that seem random and even undesirable, but not one ounce of that is true. Whomever you are, whatever you’ve done and wherever you will be is because God thinks about you. He thinks about you, lays out your path and watches you every step of the way until you reach the time He planned to be your end (Prov. 16:9).


It might sound controlling or oppressive. Some of you may feel betrayed because of some of the things that have happened to you. But hear me when I say, this God who is in control of everything and made every part of you, He is the God of pure, righteous love and He is the God of free will (1 John 4:9-10, Joshua 24:15).


He doesn’t just love us to make us feel good, He loves us from a place of honor and respect. He could force His love on you, but because He loves you, He gives you a choice (Romans 10:9-10). Not demanding anything in return, but yearning for everything in return.

Bible open to the Psalms and with a wooden heart ornament and bouquet of flowers lying on it

He will give you little nudges along the way. He’ll place people in your life who make you look beyond the temporal and seek things everlasting.


In those moments you feel overwhelmed with happiness, He’s standing beside you, celebrating with you. In the midst of tragedy when your broken heart feels as if it’s irreparable, His hand is in yours and He’s mourning with you. In each case, and in everything in between, all He wants is for you to turn to Him and fall into His arms. He is there to jump with you in joy and weep with you in pain. There’s only one thing you can do, the only thing He asks of you: to love Him with your whole heart, mind and soul (Deut. 6:5).


He doesn’t want you to suffer here on earth, so He certainly doesn’t want you to perish in eternity. But again, He leaves the choice up to you.


That may seem harsh, for God to allow people to choose when He knows what lies ahead for those who choose incorrectly, but would you want it any other way?


Would you feel free, respected or valued if you were forced into believing something? What about if someone—your spouse, child or parent—was forced to love you, would you feel genuinely loved and appreciated?


For some of you, I know this illustration is enough to convince you, but for others I know you’re still wondering how a God of love would allow such a choice. Sure, God wants us to want Him, but couldn’t He give us other ways to choose Him that don’t have such dire consequences? Trust me, I get it. I’ve wondered the same thing, but then I quickly realize He has.


He doesn’t want you to suffer here on earth, so He certainly doesn’t want you to perish in eternity. But again, He leaves the choice up to you.

When I’m anxious and want peace, God is right there waiting for me to see Him. Again, the choice is mine. Do I choose Him or do I go to another source of (temporary) comfort, such as alcohol, drugs, food, social media or TV? When I have to make a big decision, God is patiently waiting for me to seek His guidance. Do I choose Him or do I ask my friend, people on Facebook or no one at all?


When something good happens, God is ready to celebrate with me. Do I choose to thank Him or do I chalk it up to luck or pat myself on the back as if it was something I did? When I look at something so vast, complex and beautiful as the sunset, do I praise God for being such an amazing Creator or do I pass it off as the result of chance or a big bang? When I do something I know is wrong, do I shrug it off or accept the tender instruction He gives to help me make a better decision next time?


Life is full of opportunities to choose God. He gives countless chances to acknowledge Him and the proof of His existence, but we choose to ignore it.


All the good things in life, these are glimpses of the glory to come for those who choose God. He gives them all to us to point us to Him, the source of everything good (2 Cor. 4:16-18, James 1:17). As for the evil things, the parts of our lives that bring pain, grief and destruction, they are from the Evil One, Satan. God didn’t create any of them—cancer, suicide, hate, murder—but He does allow them to happen (James 1:2-4, 13-15). Whatever the reason may be, and there are many of them, they all point back to one thing: God’s goodness.


When inflation hits and you struggle to buy food, you realize that we do not live on bread alone but on the word of God (Matthew 4:4). When someone you love is battling a serious illness, you recognize the power of (and need for) healing and the One who brings it (James 5:15). When a person in authority commits an injustice, you appreciate the righteousness of God (Ex. 34:6). When your spouse leaves you, you’re more aware of the One who will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5-6). When evil seems to be running rampant, God reminds us that He has already won the war and evil will not prevail (Zech. 14:9, 1 John 3:8).

Road sign indicating must choose to turn left or right

The things that happen in life—both good and bad—are the result of one thing: us being given a choice. The freedom to choose has become a hot button topic today, with people on all sides demanding it in one way or another, but it has been a matter of debate ever since the first man and woman roamed the earth. They too were given a choice.


Choice is a beautiful thing, a right many would argue is basic and essential. So if we demand the freedom to choose on earthly matters (i.e. vaccines, presidents, etc.), do we not want the same when it comes to our belief in God?


God knows the importance of choice in our lives, why else would He have created it? It is true that God does not wish anyone to perish, but He also wants everyone to have a choice.


There are countless opportunities to choose God, but in the end it comes down to 2 options: choose God or choose Satan.


The first means ultimate healing, forgiveness and eternal life. The second, harm, condemnation and eternal death. When you choose God, your life on earth will be full, not necessarily of material things but of inexplicable joy and peace, whatever may happen (John 10:10). When you choose Satan, your darkest moments in this life will seem like paradise compared to the torment awaiting you in Hell.


Choose God and you will receive an eternal dwelling place prepared specifically for you in Heaven by Jesus Himself (John 14:2-3). Choose Satan and you will reserve your place in the lake of fire next to Satan and his demons (John 15:5-6; Rev. 20:15, 21:8).


The choice may not seem that black and white now, but it is. There is only one Way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). All other paths lead to Satan and ultimately eternal torment.


When you choose God, your life on earth will be full, not necessarily of material things but of inexplicable joy and peace, whatever may happen (John 10:10).

God does not wish you to perish but to come to repentance (admit your sins and ask God’s forgiveness, knowing only He has the power to do so). Don’t go against His wish. Honor God and choose Him.


If that is your desire, your next steps are given to you in God’s word, the Bible: “‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).



References:


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.



This post originally appeared on County News Online.

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