The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
This verse answers the question that all Christians have from time to time: why does not God just wrap it up? Why does he linger in ending this fallen world once and for all? Can't he see things keep getting worse? Can't he just put the world out of its misery? We are ready for eternal life, the main story, to get started. We are tired of the world, the flesh, and the devil rearing their ugly heads at every turn. This is torture! Come on, God! Wrap it up!
But the verse in question is deep in thoughtful ideas about this subject. For instance
1) There is a difference between slowness and patience. Slowness implies that we are waiting for God. Patience implies that God is waiting for us. Slowness implies a lack of understanding of the way reality works. Patience implies that the gospel is a firm reality in present life and must be responded to by each individual. These words of scripture stir up our sincere minds. Are our sincere thoughts stirred? Do we have a sincerity about the truth that is necessary for a solid faith? How do we stir up that sincerity? We read the scriptures, of course. The Bible is the surest way to stir up a sincere mind. Insincere minds will reject its words. Sincere minds will be stimulated. Our faith must be sincere to be accepted by God. We can't just say we believe. We must believe with all our hearts, soul, strength and mind.
2) Both Old and New Testaments are equally important. God is the same God in both. The New Testament helps explain the difficult parts of the Old Testament, but that does not make the Old Testament any less vital. In fact, it makes the older texts more vital. The Old Testament, we are told, is a different religion. Or, we are told, God changed from the Old to New. Being immersed in both will inform our souls that there is no change in our Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
3) At the same time, the unbelieving world will continually attack the scriptures as being false. They do this by attacking primarily the Old Testament, although they do attack both testaments. How we react to the Bible is a great divider. More and more people are taking sides for and against the Word of God. More people who said previously that they believed--and who still say that they believe--are casting down the validity and veracity of the sacred scriptures. Actual confessing Christians say that they are not necessary. And yet they are the only texts that stir up the sincere Christian mind. How do we react to God's Word? I think the great dividing line will fall on the Bible and what it says about the truth. We will face God and confess to believing his whole Word, not just the parts we liked. They who reject the Bible reject Christ and reject all of the faith.
4) God does not wish any to perish. Alas, many will. The world attacks the truth that is found in God. The world confidently stays lost to God and perishes. Confessing Christians reject God's word and perish. The world laughingly rejects God's son and perishes. So many perish. It breaks the heart in two. But God does not wish any to perish, and so he provides time: not slow time but patient time, so that all will have a chance to accept or reject the gospel. We have grown up in a world where lies are intensely affirmed as true, and we aren't even aware of a possible alternative until God's Spirit unlocks true truth for us. In Peter's time--and our own--the world denies any catastrophic events in earth's past. The world denies the flood. Peter tells us that believing that the flood happened is important, because it (1) reveals the nature of everything and (2) gives us promise that something catastrophic will happen again. Remember slowness v. patience? Patience is more hopeful, because at the end of God's patience comes catastrophe. At the end of slowness comes catastrophe, too, but with patience comes a purpose. God is being patient with us, because he wishes that none will perish.
5) The sincere mind, stirred up by the scriptures, the knowledge of truth, knowing that a catastrophe will come, and an awareness of God's patience, realizing that he wishes none to perish--all these things should give us hope for the gospel. But we must never forget that the true gospel involves repentance. God wishes that none perish but that all come to repentance in this patient time he is giving us. Because the gospel involves repentance, it involves something to repent of. The gospel always must include sin, something to repent of, or else those who hear this "half" gospel will be lost forever. Repentance means you know that you are guilty of sins against God, sins that you would never be able to atone for. Repentance means admitting that you are guilty before a holy God, and this repentance only occurs when one knows the truth that can only be found in Jesus Christ. He took the punishment we deserve. He atoned where we could not. We cannot atone for our own sins. He atoned for the sins of the whole world of those who believe in him. This belief--this true faith--a faith only found with a sincere mind, stirred up by the scriptures--this faith brings us to repentance. This faith saves us.
God is not being slow. He is being patient, so that you will find yourself on the correct side of the dividing line--the repentant side. Read the scriptures for yourself. See what they say about your hopeless condition. Read what they say about the only one who can save you. Stir up your sincere mind and allow God's spirit to drive you to your knees in repentance. The catastrophe will come, and it will come like a thief in the night, at a time when we least expect it. All will end. You could be washing the dishes. You could be driving to the grocery store. You could be walking the beach. We won't know when the catastrophe will come, when everything will be burned up. Now is the time for salvation, now is the time for repentance and belief in the one, true God and his son Jesus Christ.