Close

July 17, 1996

The Power of Patience

Share With Friends

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. JAMES 5:7
Patience is a virtue, or so the saying goes. Based on this passage, it appears that James is in complete agreement with that cliché. He instructs his readers to be patient, and then he illustrates what he means by offering three examples of patience.
First, he brings up the farmer. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains,” he says (v. 7). Without patience, any kind of agribusiness would be a miserable failure. The farmer does the necessary soil preparation, planting, and maintenance, but beyond that, all he can do is wait. He can’t control the weather; he can’t make the plants grow faster. And if he tried to hurry their progress, he would destroy them.
As an example of patience in the face of suffering, James uses the “prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (v. 10). Next time you feel like complaining because you have it rough at work or because nobody understands you, think about what Elijah, Jonah, or Jeremiah had to endure. Chances are, you’ve never been pursued by a wicked queen or swallowed by a large fish. And it’s a safe bet that you haven’t spent more than forty years in the same position without a single success story or convert. (If you want to know what that’s like, read the Book of Jeremiah.)
Finally, James mentions Job as an example of someone who persevered and was blessed because of it (v. 11). Talk about a man who had to wait it out with no guarantee of a happy ending! And yet, throughout his sufferings, he refused to give up his belief that “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).
What are you waiting for? More important, what does the way you wait say about your faith?

Share With Friends