Wise Waiting

Opening Prayer

Thank You, God, that through it all, You have never left my side. Meet with me now as I come before You.

Read James 5:7–12

7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Reflect

Who are the people of faith who have helped you “hang in there” in hard times?

A few years ago I set out on a swim across the bay from Sydney’s Manly Beach to nearby Shelley Beach and back. A storm was coming and I noticed that the currents were making my swim unusually tiring.

On the second leg, it occurred to me that I was out of my depth. I started to panic. But then in the distance I saw two swimmers ahead of me. It was enough to keep me going. I followed them all the way into Manly Beach.

As James comes to the end of his letter, he returns to the theme of endurance, introduced in 1:2–4,12–15. He repeats the ideas around patience, waiting and steadfastness, using the Old Testament examples of the prophets and Job to remind his audience of those who have gone before, those who persevered to the end, despite hard times.

The patience that Job showed was not passive or timid. He had many questions of God, but he kept the faith. Likewise, the “stand firm” of verse 8 implies a steely resolve, the opposite of the “double-minded” believer we met in 1:8. Living in the light of the thought that Jesus will return will also help us to have a new perspective (7–9).

Apply

Are you facing a situation that requires perseverance? Choose one of these examples of faith to study for further encouragement.

Closing prayer

Thank You, God, for the people of faith, “such a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1), who have helped me to persevere.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider