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. –James 5:7-8
The month of March turned to April, which turned to May, which turned to June, which turned to July, which turned to August, which finally turned to September! Whew! Yet, very little has changed in our lives since we experienced such dramatic change in the spring. Yes, lockdown is lifted, schools have returned to some type of instruction, and professional sports are bubble wrapped, but the hoped-for end to the pandemic has not materialized. We are still taking many of the same precautions we did six months ago. COVID-19 being one thing among many, 2020 is a year that has tried our patience!
How do you deal with delay? With impatience? Is your spirit or countenance frustrated by your lack of control? That’s what is at the root of our impatience—we recognize how little control we have. It frustrates us. It frightens us. A sense of control, even a false sense, helps us think everything is going well and going in the right direction. If we weren’t cured of this fallacy before March, we should be by now! What’s a believer to do?
Consider James 5 mentioned above. He begins and ends with an eternal perspective. Sandwiched in between is an illustration that connects us to the temporal. But I love how he says in verse 8, “Establish your hearts….” Repeat that phrase to yourself: “Establish your heart.” Now, consider the meaning of the word “established.” It means grounded, secured, rooted. It evokes certainty for us in a world where we’ve learned we have a lot more uncertainty than we want to admit. There’s a lot more we can’t control than we can. The patient farmer is the perfect encouragement for us.
Is your heart established in Christ? Is it grounded, secured, and rooted in Him and the reality of his power and love? Or, do you constantly get upset over things you can’t control? Are you constantly impatient with the situation or others around you? The way you respond will give you a clue as to whether your heart is firmly established in Christ, whether your perspective is eternal or temporal.
As the people of God in Christ Jesus, with sins forgiven and eternal life a reality, we also have the promise of peace, the command to “take heart” because Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16). Whether it’s every day or a long pandemic, we are called to a place of faith and trust in Christ. We’ll continue to pray for and cheer on the medical professionals and the scientists, but at the end of the day (at the end of the age!), we are firmly established, waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord. Nothing sways this eternal vision from our mind, not even the challenges of today.
The last six months have been difficult for various reasons. Perhaps the next six will be just as hard. We don’t know. But having our hearts firmly established in Christ is the fruit of faith even non-farmers like us can enjoy.
Waiting Patiently with You,