Prepare to listen. Light 2 purple and pink candles and pray: ‘Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’
Prayerfully Read James 5:7-11.
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
A friend once complained that the older she gets the less patient she becomes. I readily identified with her! We’re both still on the journey demanded by James: ‘Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.’ Trouble is, many of us often misunderstand patience and then presume we don’t have it. We think patience is a gentle passivity that accepts and tolerates others, or we equate it with being nice and gentle. That’s not what James writes about.
Patience has more to do with waiting and enduring, as James’ examples suggest (vv 7b, 11b). Douglas Webster writes in Finding Spiritual Direction, “Patience is the will to stay the course, to pursue righteousness in spite of evil and to persevere for the sake of Christ” (1991, p. 146). This is what we need in the church today, especially in those times when it seems evil has the upper hand. Patience hangs in, perseveres, remains convinced that evil will not win. We learn patience only as we practice the discipline of waiting on God, writes Webster (1991, p. 147), daily showing up to listen to God in Christ, daily recognizing and seeing Christ alive and at large in the world.
As you prepare to welcome Christ into the world once again this Advent, actively practice the discipline of waiting, enduring the storms that come, remaining Christian to the end. Waiting for Christmas is good practice, training us to be patient
Reflect on what you need so that you stay the course, enduring to the end and what hinders you from doing so.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, keep training me in the discipline of patience so that I remain strong to the end. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, waiting patiently for Christ’s coming.