ODJ: the waiting game

March 22, 2014 

READ: James 5:1-11 

Be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the autumn and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen (v.7).

In 2006 Trevor Thompson surveyed 1,003 adults and determined the following: while waiting in line at an office or shop, most people take an average of 17 minutes to lose their cool. When placed on hold during a phone call, most people lose their patience in 9 minutes. Women lose their patience after waiting in line for about 18 minutes. Men lose it after 15 minutes. People with a degree and a higher income lose their patience quicker than those with lower income and less education.

Though the believers of his day may have been facing mistreatment by the rich (or perhaps envied their riches), James exhorted them not to lose their patience (James 5:1-7). They were no doubt fatigued and weary from the trials they endured, but he told them to take courage and to be patient (v.7). This kind of patience would be developed only in the crucible of discomfort, pain and suffering. They were called to live in hope until Jesus returned and eradicated injustice in the world.

To help them understand what he was asking them to do, James used an agricultural illustration. The farmer was dependent on God and waited for Him to send the rains, so he could grow and harvest precious fruit. Therefore, these believers, like Job, needed to wait and trust God to address the mystery of their suffering. James wrote, “We give great honour to those who endure under suffering” (v.11).

We are also called to be patient. As we read God’s Word, dwell in His love, intentionally slow down and live from an eternal perspective (Romans 15:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 10:34-37), we can develop growth in this virtue. And we can learn to respond more and more like Jesus (1 Peter 2:23). —Marvin Williams

365-day plan› 1 Samuel 8:6-22

Read Galatians 5:22 and consider what God is doing in us as we exhibit patience. 
What situations try your patience the most? How can God’s patience with you inspire you to be patient with others?