Throughout my life, one of the things I have grown to appreciate more and more is silence… not at all because I don’t like to be with people—I love people—but because of what it does for my soul in the midst of so much chaos.
Many of us are so often running non-stop from one thing to the next, and the digital world we live in is constantly telling us to do something now. Deal with this, that, and the other thing now. React to what we see in the news and in culture now. Order the thing you want online now. This now we live in is an ever-present reality—every minute of every hour of every day. Which is why I think this James 5:7-12 passage Pastor Josh Argubright preached on this week is such a powerful exhortation for us to chew on. Consider these first couple of verses in James 5:7-8 (ESV):
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
There is a gift in patience. Like a farmer who prepares his field and lets the rain nourish the soil, we too can remove ourselves from the noise and spend time with God preparing our own hearts for the work the Holy Spirit does so well, and let His reign nourish our souls as we wait for the ultimate harvest.
But it doesn’t stop there.
There is more to what James, and through him, what God Himself calls us to do. There is also a reward as we see in James 5:9-11 (ESV).
“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
One of our biggest challenges here is not simply being patient but doing so without grumbling. In our moments of waiting, there is a task at hand for us to remain steadfast and trust like so many people we read about in the Bible did before us. But it is not easy.
Can we be patient and trusting enough to allow the Lord to do His work away from the rush? When the chaos of culture all around us tells us to react in one way or another, can we resist, remain steadfast, and allow God to grab hold of our weary souls?
Whatever your answer is to these questions, one thing that should give us all hope is the reality of God’s Word itself, and the numerous examples He provides for us to learn from in the Bible. As James alludes to in the above passage, some of those key people include Job and “the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” None of us is alone in our efforts, and because of how God has set up His Kingdom, we never will be. In fact, as we work to grow in our patient waiting as followers of Christ, we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to lead us where only He can transform us into the people He made us to be. It is as simple as it is complex, but it is not a mystery. And it is worth trusting God enough to let Him show you why.
“They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31, ESV)
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:12, ESV)
Dive deeper into this week’s passage from James 5:7-12, and follow up your reading of it with these five QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
1. What is the value of waiting? How does God work through it?
2. How should we “establish [our] hearts for the coming of the Lord?”
3. Why is “grumbling” such a big problem?
4. What are some of your favorite stories and characters in the Bible to learn from? Why?
5. How does swearing “either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath” fit in to the rest of this passage in James 5:7-12?
IN REVIEW …
James 3:13-18: “Though It Cost All You Have”
James 3:1-12: “Taming the Tongue”