James 5:7-11 - New American Standard Version (NASB)
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
How many times have we heard that growing up? How many times have we said it to others? Why, after such a plethora of encouragement over several decades, do we still struggle to exercise this virtue with any successful level of consistency?
If the car in front of us does not immediately begin forward motion after the light turns green, he is immediately met with the sound of a horn. Even on such a silly level, our ability to be patient is tested.
Webster defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
It turns out, we are born with a diminished capacity. Patience is not our instinctual, natural reaction to delay, trouble or suffering. Sure, we might be able to muster some patience for the checkout line at Walmart. Or maybe you can sit through an unbearably long graduation ceremony without complaint. But what about the patience required to deal with a difficult coworker? A handicapped child? A chronic illness? Deferred hope? Patience, in those areas, does not come naturally. So, if we are not naturally able to manufacture patience, how does one acquire it?
The Apostle Paul reminds us of its source: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness & self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
Patience is the fruit of the Spirit of God, residing in a human heart that has surrendered to God’s presence in his/her life. His patience, given to us, can help us accept or tolerate delay, trouble and suffering in a way that mere will power and practice cannot.
Do you possess THAT kind of patience? It’s available to all, in and through Christ. May you experience His patience this season as you embrace His Spirit.