March 21, 2018

How Long, Lord?

Psalm 13; James 5:7-11

You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

—  James 5:11

Job was tested severely, losing all his children and flocks and herds, and then eventually his health. And yet he did not lose his faith and did not sin against God (see Job 1-2; 42).

If we look at Job’s life, we might think he had every right to be angry. Throughout his defense we see some notes of righteous anger against his friends, who spoke unfairly to him. But in all his suffering and complaints, Job did not sin. And yet how long did Job have to wait for God’s declaration of righteousness?

In the heat of the moment, anger often wins over patience. Let anger go and you can avoid its terrible consequences. Letting go of anger means releasing your right to be vindicated. God sees all and knows the truth. Not unlike a wild horse that needs training to accept a bridle, the emotional power of unrestrained anger can be redirected and refocused into God’s hands. But how long will God take to make things right?

It’s all in the Lord’s timing. We will struggle with sin until Christ returns, but in the meantime we will have access to the patience to resist anger and the other deadly sins scratching at our door and seeking a place in our hearts.

Christ has nailed the power of sinful anger to the cross. Persevere in the Lord’s steadfast love today, and, in his strength, keep waiting patiently for the Lord.

Lord, “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” You are so good to me. Help me to be patient and wait for the good that you have promised. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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