it out!” “Suck it up!” “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” “Just keep walking!”
matter how we hear it, it just doesn’t seem to be enough when we are
suffering. When you’re on the other side
of it, it certainly doesn’t seem like enough to say either. Yet, this is what James is telling us
today. As we turn the corner into the
final lap in the book of James, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ
patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to
yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand
firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against one another,
brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.
Judge is standing at the door!
just finished in the preceding verses in reminding those who trust in riches
that their rewards have already been received and their lives of luxury is
their reward. James now tells the family
of faith (“brothers and sisters”) to “be patient…until the Lord’s
coming”. As James tells us to “be patient”, he uses a
word meaning to have “long suffering”.
We are to bear for a long time the suffering we have. There is a certain measure of “spiritual
toughness” we’re being called to have.
often, it seems, we suffer just a small bit and we’re ready to throw in the
towel but James says, “suffering long and well!” Did it ever occur to you that how we suffer demonstrates
to the world the genuineness of our faith?
It is in testing that the world sees what we’re made of. It’s easy to raise hands and praise God when
everything is going well, but what about when it’s not?
when waiting for the crops to grow, had to wait for the rain in autumn and
spring. There was expectancy about it
since their crops would die without these rains. In addition, there was nothing the farmer
could do to bring the rain faster or make his crops grow faster. He had to be patient. In same way, James tells us to be patient and
be strong. We are powerless to change
the outcome of life. As such, we must
rely on the Lord and His power.
did James use the Lord’s coming as comfort to these Christians (verses 7 and 8)? Was this some kind of tease to them? Surely the Holy Spirit, as He is inspiring
James to write this, knew that it would be at least 2,000 years (and counting!)
before the Lord’s return. Why was this a
source of comfort? While there is simply
not enough space (in this blog post) to treat every aspect of this, remember that when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, we
entered the “last days” (cf. 2:17ff).
The next event in the timetable of our salvation is the glorious return
of Christ! In short, James is saying our
Vindicator’s return in close. In terms
of eternity, this is a very true statement.
Our perspective, James contends, is far too “right now”. We need an eternal perspective! Even the span of 2,000 years should not dull
our expectancy that our Deliverer is coming.
And when He does, He is not coming back on a donkey as the humble Man of
Galilee but is coming back as the all-powerful Judge.
adds, “Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you
will be judged. The Judge is standing at
(verse 9). There is a point here that is
easy to miss: we are not called to suffer in solidarity. James is assuming that the Christians are
together and would stay that way. He
warns them not to take out their frustration with their situation on each
other. The Lord was concerned for them
and had not forgotten them. The persecuted
Christians need to pull together rather than rip each other apart (cf. James
4:11-12 and my previous blog post about it).
To speak in eternal judgment over a brother or sister in Christ puts us
in danger of answering to THE JUDGE for our offense against Him and His
children. And the Judge is standing, as
it were, with His hand on the latch.
we face the inevitable problems of life or even the punishment from God, may we be
patient in it. May the world—which so desperately
needs to see Christ in our lives—witness raised hands when God gives and when
He takes away.
I’ll praise you in this storm
I will lift my hands.
you are Who You are
matter where I am.
every tear I’ve cried
hold in Your hand.
never left my side
though my heart is torn
will praise You in this storm.
“Praise You in This Storm” Words and
Music by Bernie Herms and Mark Hall. © 2005 Word Music, LLC, BanaHama Tunes, My
Refuge Music, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.). Admin.
by Word Music Group, Inc., Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing, Admin. by
Sony/ATV Songs LLC)