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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Learning Patience

takes time.

James 5:7–11

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Here James turns his attention to the brethren, who are, mostly, not rich. His message is simple but critically important—be patient.

James gives three examples of patience: the farmer, the prophets, and Job. Individually they are great examples of patience paying off.

But it’s the common thread that is James’s message here—impatience doesn’t help. In fact, it’s destructive. That’s the point of verse nine.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

Wait. What? James has rightly condemned the rich who have cheated their laborers and stored up wealth (and wrath!) for themselves.

But is James now saying that the victims of that cheating can also be condemned—for just grumbling? How can this be? Can that sin be just as bad as the cheating?

In a way, yes. Both sins are what you might call “sins of atheism.”

They display not trusting God.

Impatience is epidemic is America; it’s part of our culture. We’re marinated in it.

Lately, my prayer partners and I have noticed a distinctly slow style in how God answers our prayers. It feels like He’s making a point of teaching us patience.

Sure, some prayers have been urgent, and we’ve seen some stop-your-heart miracles with those.

But a frustratingly slow pace has been a relentless theme with the rest. Some of the most glorious cases, with the most impressive answers, have been agonizingly slow. The Lord often held back until long after the intensity of our prayers had waned. Only when our prayers had settled into an enduring—even boring—style did God bring glorious results.

Methinks there’s a point to that.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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