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Being Patient in Suffering

            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. (Jas 5:7)

When working in the Lord’s field, we inevitably encounter challenging situations. If the difficulty seems too great to bear, we begin to lose patience.

Through James, the Lord teaches us to deal with the situation by learning from the farmer. In earlier times, there were no satellite weather forecasts, automated sprinkling systems, targeted pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or temperature controls to help a crop grow. After the farmer tilled the land and planted the seed, he could only wait upon the Lord. The farmer’s very limited control of the situation forced him to become patient and place his trust in God.

How can we be patient as the farmer during times of suffering?

1. Stay focused on the Lord. James encourages us to “establish [o]ur hearts” or “stand firm” and know that the coming of the Lord is at hand (Jas 5: 8). When we keep in perspective that we are only a part of God’s plan during our brief time on earth, then we will know that “neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Cor 3:7).

2. Hold our tongue. In times of high stress, our natural instinct is to complain. However, James warns us, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (Jas 5:9). We need to watch our language: “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath” (Jas 5:12).

3. Learn from examples of patience in suffering. James brings up Job and the prophets, saying, “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience” (Jas 5:10). For us, these examples may be ministers or co-workers who had silently suffered for doing their job. Let us learn from these examples by focusing on the Lord, quietly working with our hands, and keeping God’s kingdom in mind.

             

            Question for Reflection:

How do you handle difficulties when working for the Lord?


Author: Becky Yuan
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