Be patient … until the Lord’s coming.
Farmers understand the need for patience. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains,” says James. Arnold Glasgow must have been thinking similarly when he wrote about the importance of patience: “You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open.” In other words, as a familiar proverb puts it, “Good things come to those who wait”!
James was writing to believers who were being mistreated by people who were rich. By urging his readers to be patient, James wasn’t simply instructing them to be resigned to their difficult situation. Instead, he was reminding them that “the Lord’s coming is near,” and that when Christ returns, he will serve as the just Judge.
When Christ comes back from heaven, “with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), he will set all wrongs right. Jesus is coming to give strength to the weak and to judge those whom the world considers strong.
Be patient then, James is saying, until the Lord’s coming, when the heavens and the earth will be made new and the Lord himself comes to live with us. It’s because we view life through the lens of eternity that we can be “thankful when things go well” and “patient when things go against us” (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 28).
Thank you, Lord God, that you are establishing a kingdom where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” Help us to persevere patiently in that hope. Amen.
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