1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For anyone who lacks these things is short-sighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
2 Peter 1:1-11 (NRSV)
(For use with the MORNING Daily Prayer)
Can you think of a time in your life when you felt, “ineffective and unfruitful”? I can think of several, but the one that came to mind when I read this passage was about ten years ago. I was looking through a college alumni magazine that had arrived in the mail and happened upon an article about young graduates who were making an impact on the world. Glossy photographs captured an upbeat meeting at a coffee shop where they had gathered to network with other professionals and their cheerful, well-groomed faces were full of confidence and optimism. From my point of view as an unemployed graduate student, it was like looking at a photograph of a lush garden or a tropical vacation while in the dead of winter. I knew what it felt like to be there but it wasn’t where I was. My life was in a holding pattern and my confidence was at a low point. A sense of promise that I had felt in more productive times seemed dormant and uncertain. Just then, the words of a song playing on the radio caught my attention:
“There’s a battle ahead. Many battles are lost, but you’ll never see the end of the road
while you’re traveling with me. Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over.”
(Crowded House. “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Capitol, 1986.)
My mood brightened as I heard a message that resembled that of 2nd Peter to its original recipients – people who, like me, were in an extended season of advent. They were at a vulnerable, stagnant point between two periods of promise, uncertain about the future, but they heard a voice saying, “This isn’t over! The one who called you is traveling beside you. You have what you need. Keep at it.” I needed to hear that word of encouragement because, though my situation was about to change, it didn’t feel like it. I had grown short-sighted and fearful of battles ahead – but a more fruitful season was just around the corner.
Are you at a low point in life? Is it hard to have confidence in what lies ahead or to envision a return to more hopeful days? If so, may this Advent season remind you of God’s faithfulness and care. Don’t dream it’s over. Rather, in the words of 2nd Peter, “may grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Keep at it, and check out that song!
A Prayer for the Fifthteenth Day of Advent
God of glory and goodness, we give thanks for your faithfulness and providential care.
May remembrance of your promises, presence and power
give us the confidence we need to face the future with hope and determination. Amen.
Dr. Christopher Richardson