“Be patient, then … until the Lord’s coming.” (James 5:7)
The dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to endure without complaint something difficult or disagreeable.” Patience is synonymous with forbearance and longsuffering. Our patience is tested when a goal we desire or expect is threatened or delayed. A simple thing like being stuck in traffic or bickering around the dinner table can bring us to the end of our patience. More significant, the great disconnect we experience between God’s promise of peace-filled life forever and the life we’re actually living — strife and turmoil — can wear away our patience.
But let’s be patient. Impatience makes us vulnerable to great sin. Impatience nearly always comes with destructive anger. Impatience opens the door to pride (“I could manage this world better”) and envy (“Others have it; why not me?”) and sloth (“Who gives a rip anymore?”). James also links it to grumbling. Let’s be patient until the Lord’s coming. James urges us to imitate the farmer. The farmer tills the soil, plants, fertilizes, weeds, and waits for the rain. With patience we learn what we can do and what is out of our hands. The secret to biblical patience is to know that what is out of our hands is still in God’s hands — and those hands seek our good.
Almighty God, grant us the strength to be patient in dealing with the things we can control, and the strength to give to give it up to your loving hands when we can’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen.