April 28, 2013

Practicing Patience

James 5:7-12

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.
—James 5:9


After a challenging move to a new house, we found ourselves feeling lonely. The kids missed all their friends, and our living situation was not ideal. All around us were reminders that things were not as we wanted them to be. We found ourselves grumbling like Israel in the desert (see Exodus 16:1-3).

It can be difficult not to grumble and complain about how broken our world is. Every day we see around us the results of sin. We long for God’s perfect kingdom, but we live in an imperfect world. We are surrounded by broken people— some sitting around our table and some even looking back at us from the mirror.

Proverbs 19:13 describes a grumbler as being as irritating as “the constant dripping of a leaky roof.” Grumbling and complaining are offensive to the ear. Living as constant complainers makes us bitter people who are not much fun to be around. When we grumble, we insult God, sour our souls, and push away the people around us.

James urges us to be patient in our interactions with others. If only we could see with God’s vision, noticing the blessings he gives us in and through others. We need to realize that the people we are frustrated with also belong to God. Then we might find that the situations that annoy us are the places where God wants us to grow.

Lord, you know our natural tendency to see the worst in people. Train our eyes to see beyond the challenges to the blessings you have in store for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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