Read: James 5:7
Theme: Be Patient in Life
Farmers know more about patience than perhaps anyone else. They plant a seed deep in the earth and then they have to sit and wait for it to sprout. And once it does sprout, they have to water it, fertilize it, check its growth, prune it, support it, and wait for it to finally bear fruit. Farming takes work, and devotion, and attention and, most of all, patience. There is no instant gratification in farming.
In today’s passage, James is writing to encourage Jewish Christians to be patient in their suffering. It makes sense, then, that James would choose the example of farmers, waiting on rain to bring their crops to maturity. He pointed his readers to an example everyone would be familiar with, that of farmers awaiting rain.
Our faith takes patience. There will come a time when God will make all things right but, until that day, we wait. We need the patience of farmers as we wait for the good work of God to grow in our lives.
Reflect: Are you a patient person? Has there ever been a time in your life when you had to wait on God? What was that experience like for you?
Pray: God, grow me into patience. Help me to wait for you to do your work in my life. Help me to trust you in the waiting. Amen.
Read: James 5:8
Theme: Be Patient and Stand Firm
After encouraging his readers to have the patience of farmers, James goes on to tell them to stand firm. What does it mean to stand firm? The Message paraphrase of the Bible says to “stand steady and strong.”
While we wait patiently, we have to be firm in our beliefs and practices. Earlier in chapter 5, James had detailed some of the many injustices happening to the early Christians. He was writing to a group of people who were very familiar with bad things happening. They couldn’t escape their present troubles, but James could encourage them to endure with strength and patience. He points to a future reality when God would make everything right. But, for now, he was encouraging his readers to not lose their resolve while they waited.
Reflect: Have you ever had to endure something painful? What did you do while waiting?
Pray: While we wait patiently for you to make everything right, God, help us to stand firm. Help us to not lose our resolve. Help us to trust in your promises. Amen.
Read: James 5:10-11, Job 23:8-10, Romans 5:3
Theme: How Patience Grows Us
The Romans passage teaches us that suffering produces patience. This is something that Job would’ve known very well. Job experienced a level of suffering that few of us ever will. He essentially lost everything that he valued. He lost his family, his possessions, and his health. He had nothing left.
In the verses that we read for today, Job shows a remarkable amount of trust in God. Even though he acknowledges that he cannot find God, no matter where he looks, he can still express trust in him, and a confidence that his suffering will produce a change in him. “[W]hen he has tested me,” Job says, “I will come forth as gold.” In the midst of his challenges, he had faith that God was doing something in his heart and making him better.
Today, we remember Job as a man of great patience. We even use his name as an expression: “the patience of Job.” Job is remembered in the New Testament as an example of patience in suffering. Not only does our patient endurance refine us, but it also makes us an example to others. Job’s patience made him better, and his example inspires us.
Reflect: Are you patient in times of trouble? Do you find it easy to trust in God? Who in your life is an example of patient endurance in times of trouble?
Pray: God, thank you for the example of Job. Thank you for the example of people in my life who have trusted you in times of trouble. Help me to trust you when I am suffering. Help me to have the faith that you are refining me into gold. May my patient faith be an example to others. Amen.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:4, 1 Peter 4:8
Theme: Patience with People
Most of us are quite familiar with this passage from 1 Corinthians. It’s one of the passages that many people know, even if they don’t go to church or read the Bible. It’s a very practical piece of advice: love is patient. If you have ever been in any type of relationship—be it a marriage, a friendship, or even a relationship with a coworker—you know that love requires patience. We need to be patient with other people. We need other people to be patient with us.
Peter reminds us that love covers a multitude of sins. When we love someone, we are patient with their shortcomings. And, when we are loved, other people are patient with our mistakes. Love makes this sort of patience possible.
God desires us to be in relationships that flourish in love and patience. In our marriages, friendships, parenting, and working, we need to have patience with one another.
Reflect: Think of your 3 closest relationships. This might be with a spouse, a family member, or a close friend. How patient are you with those around you? Can you think of a time when you were the recipient of someone else’s patience? How did that make you feel?
Pray: God, help me to have enough love to be patient with those around me. Help me to be more like Jesus, offering grace and love and patience to people. Help me to keep my temper and grow in love. Amen.
Read: Hebrews 12:1-3, Romans 8:18-25
Theme: Jesus—Our Patient Savior
Hebrews 11 is a well-known passage that lists many Old Testament heroes of the faith. Then, in chapter 12, the author of Hebrews says that we are surround by these great heroes. Imagine yourself in a sports arena, with a difficult race ahead of you. The stands are filled with people who have run this very same race and are all gathered to cheer you on. Hebrews 12 says that is what it is like for us. And so, like those who have gone ahead of us, we have to run our race with patience. While we have great examples of others who have had faith, our best example is Jesus himself.
Christ is the perfect example of patient endurance. He went through suffering on the cross for the purpose of saving us. But, even in suffering, he could hope in his future resurrection, and now we hope in him. He knew that glory and joy would follow his trials.
The passage in Romans tells us that we, too, have glory ahead of us. Our present sufferings are insignificant when we consider what is to come. We long for a future eternity with Christ, but we follow his patient example until that day comes.
Reflect: Compare being patient when you know what is coming to being patient during uncertainty. Is it easier to be patient when you know what is ahead?
Pray: God, thank you for your example of perfect faith and endurance. Thank you that you are an example to us of perfect patience. Help us to trust in your promises and believe in the future hope of heaven. We love you, God. Amen.
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