7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. 8 You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near.
The trials of the last year have left us with a shortage of patience. We want everything now! Ordinary stressors can push us over the edge. Driving in rush hour traffic. Misbehaving children. Long lines at the store. Listening, without arguing, to those who have different opinions than our own. Following Jesus every day until the fulfillment of the Kin(g)-dom of God. What do these situations have in common? As children of God, these situations are daily opportunities to rely on God and to grow spiritually and strengthen our faith. What these situations reveal is that we’re not in control. If we’re going to grow through them and develop endurance and perseverance, we will need to humble our egos and pray for guidance to have patience. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that we can’t develop on our own.
Two Greek words are combined for patience, “long and temper.” It means to endure through hardship without losing heart or becoming vengeful. The Latin root of the word for patience means “suffering.” So, to have patience means we need to have a long fuse, endure suffering and to place our trust in God. All of us have experienced suffering, whether it was physical or mental, from circumstances or at the hands of others. As followers of Jesus, we want to be agents that work to eliminate suffering, not inflict it on others.
In these verses, James is speaking to the poor, who were being cheated out of their wages by the rich. James tells them not to be consumed by revenge, but instead to “wait patiently” because the Lord is coming to bring justice. James encourages the disciples of Jesus to “strengthen their resolve.” This means we can put our faith in God, who is rock solid, who loves us and is with us in every situation, bringing peace.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
James uses the illustration of the farmer waiting patiently for the rains and the growing of precious fruit that will be harvested. We can’t rush the work of the Spirit. We need to be patient with ourselves and not give up. The Holy Spirit is at work within us to bring forth the fruit of patience in our lives. This is the work of the infinite patience of the divine love that God has for us. Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr says, “Patience is the very shape of love.” Patience is love in action. What person or situation do you need to ask God to help you to become more patient with today?
Prayer: Lord, help us to be patient with ourselves and others, as you are ever patient with us. Remind us that patience is love in action. Amen.