"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." James 5:7-8
My mother always told me, "Good things come in small packages." I always wondered if she said that because she is pretty tiny.
But in her case and in reference to the Book of James that we have been studying, it IS true.
In just five brief chapters James hits on some issues crucial to being an effective Christian and building a healthy church. I found it particularly timely for where FredWes is in the Summer of 2010.
One of the persistent themes of James is how to respond during suffering and struggles. Perhaps that was because these believers were facing both on a daily basis. Because they took a stand for their Christian faith they were targeted for abuse and discrimination. Even some within in the church were cheating them - as we just learned in the previous verses.
So, how should Christians respond in the face of suffering?
James offers four pieces of helpful advice here in the middle portion of Chapter 5.
The first thing he tells you is: Look Up And Be Courageous!
V. 7 says, "be patient". The word for "patience" is "makrothumeo". It literally means to wait! Wait with steadfastness. Wait with certainty. This is the same thought the Psalmist expressed when admonished "be still and know that I am God".
This is the same mindset you have when you hold on to your old clunker of a car for one more year knowing that at that time you will be able to trade it on a shiny new one!
The reason you can be patient and wait calmly and courageously is because you are certain of God's return. You live with certainty that one day He will return and all will be made right OR you will go to be will Him and suffering and strife will be over!
Another mindset you can develop to help you wait with patience is to understand that just like there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in life. Seasons come and go and change and it happens every year so you adjust and find things to enjoy about each season while you await the next one.
When life gets tough and you are struggling - LOOK UP! You can live courageously knowing that suffering is only for a season! You can be patient. You can be passionate. You can rest on His promises! You can live with purpose and power knowing that God has it all under control!