Oct 11th 2021
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I used to be so impatient with my garden, I’d dig up seeds I’d planted just to find out how they were doing! I soon discovered that they grow in their own good time, and that as a new gardener, I needed to have patience.
In James 5, we read about the farmer waiting for his land to yield its crop. I’ve often walked through wheat fields that seem to ripen slowly, turning from green to yellow then white, knowing that the right amount of sunshine and rain is needed, and marvelling at the patience that is needed in farming and horticulture.
Likewise, James says, we need to learn patience in our Christian lives. And that may mean being patient ‘in the face of suffering’ (v. 10). In verse 11 we read of the ‘perseverance’ of Job, from the Old Testament. Perseverance and patience aren’t quite the same thing, but they both imply honest endurance.
James 5 finishes with the wonderful passage on the prayer of faith. The promise of healing and forgiveness is so uplifting; it seems important too that we confess our shortcomings to each other (v. 16). Interestingly, the chapter again mentions crops – rain was withheld and then came in answer to Elijah’s earnest prayer (vv. 17-18); truly, the ‘prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’, as James tells us in verse 16.
This chapter is powerful because it teaches us so much in relatively few words. Patience and perseverance are important in the Christian walk. We need to be earnest in prayer, humble, yet persistent. Prayer can be answered, and powerfully. Sometimes we just have to wait to see the results – and in the waiting, stand firm in our faith (v. 8).
Pause and reflect: How patient are you, on a scale of one to ten? Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23, NLT). Why not ask God about that today?
Sheila Jacobs is a Christian writer and editor, and an award-winning author. She is also a retreat leader and day chaplain at a retreat house. She loves listening to people’s stories, and encouraging writers to hone their
potential. She is passionate about pursuing God and helping others meet with Jesus.
© Victory Church UK 2022