Lou Venden: The title of this chapter leads to the question: “How much longer do you think God is going to wait?”
Graham Maxwell: I think that subject is so important that it’s the topic for the entire next chapter: “How Soon Will the Conflict Be Over?”
Lou: The idea of waiting also raises the question: “How is He waiting? Is God Himself uncertain about just how and when things will turn out? How does this relate to God’s knowledge about the future?”
Graham: My personal preference is not to limit God’s knowledge of the past, present or future in any way. I believe He knows precisely when He’s coming, but He speaks of waiting, and in some places He speaks of delay. We’ll cover those texts in the next chapter. The language of waiting indicates to us what is most important to Him. He will not come until the conditions are right. It does not suggest that He’s ignorant of these matters.
Lou: The idea of growing up raises another question: Most congregations include people at different ages and different stages of spiritual growth. Won’t there always be babes in the truth, people who need to grow up, new converts? How could it ever happen that everybody will be all grown up at the very same time? What exactly is God waiting for?
Graham: That’s why we included a whole chapter on perfection (Chapter Fourteen). Some in the church have made perfection almost unattainable, but I would define perfection as growing up, God healing the damage done by sin. Everything depends on what it means to be grown up. One does not have to be thirty or fifty or ninety to be grown up. I’m impressed with the maturity of Jesus at the age of twelve. He was so settled into the truth that, when He talked with the theologians of the day, He understood things better than they did. Perhaps we think maturing takes a long time, because we’ve made the truth too complicated. I think we will be amazed at how young people and new converts will be immovably committed to the truth that God is different than His enemies have made Him out to be. If we rightly understand what it means to be grown up and settled into the truth, it would make this much more attainable in the End.
Lou: I hear you suggesting that what really matters is simple, and yet profoundly important.
Graham: Both of those things, just the way you said it. The simplest statement is about the sublime truth that holds the universe together.