Since March 2020, the world has been upside down. Nothing has been normal. Staying home and being isolated from your family and friends has been hard. Not knowing if you are going to lose your job or how you will be paying your bills has been stressful. Racial discrimination and its reality in the day-to-day lives of individuals in our society has been both draining to talk about and explain. But it does not stop there. On top of these very difficult issues, there is regular life – health, financial, marriage, kids, and or relationships problems.
In a time like this, what should we do?
James gives us a simple answer in his letter to the church, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming” (James 5: 7).
Did he just say be patient? Yes, he did. I mean I think of so many others words to describe my feelings when I am going through trouble– anxiety, fear, worry, anger, frustration, complaint. But James says to be patient. This word patient means “waiting with calm and expectancy.”
I think most of us can agree and say that being calm is the last word we are doing or thinking of when we think about trials, problems, and challenges in life.
But yup, there it is in the Bible - be patient. Why does he say this? Because he says to be patient because there is a context around his words. He says be calm until the LORD returns.
You see as Christians we believe that Jesus is God, we are saved, we are forgiven, and we are going to heaven. But until our death or before Jesus returns, we have work to do. We are called to be like Christ. We are called to tell others about Jesus. We are not wasting time, we understand that earth is not our home heaven is and we desire for others to have that peace and purpose in Jesus Christ too. Until then, we must do the work.
James even says, “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5: 7-8)
The farmer does not know if rain is coming or not. The farmer does not know if the crop will come or not. But continues to work. The same with us. We need to keep doing what we are doing and be patient.
How does that look like in our day-to-day life?
I will still go around handing out my resume to find a job.
I will still be a loving spouse and parent.
I will still give money to God’s work to impact his kingdom.
I will still worship God despite this trying time.
I will still make a meal for someone and drop it off at their door.
I will talk about justice and help in areas of justice to see all people treated right and fair.
I will still read my Word and pray for the world to change.
I will still have hope despite the fact my loved one died this past year.
I will still believe that God can heal me even though I am sick.
I will forgive those who have hurt me so that I will be healed.
I will trust God to work out every situation in my life even though I am not in control.
Even though life is up and down, we are called to be patient. Remain calm and have expectancy in life. We don’t know when Jesus will return. We don’t know when our last day will be. But until then be the best Christian person you can be for God and the people around us.