* * * * * * * * * * *
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (Jas. 5:7-8)
* * * * * * * * * * *
In our modern consumerist society, patience is a rare commodity. Americans are accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it . . . and if we can't get it, somebody is going to hear about it. That impatient spirit fuels much of the anxiety that makes our lives miserable.
We need to learn how to be more patient. We can do that by recognizing three important characteristics of patience.
First, patience is rooted in hope. The farmer works his fields and plants his crops without complaint, because he expects a harvest several months down the road. There are elements in this process that he has no control over: the maturation rate of the crops, the volume and timing of rainfall, the condition of the soil, etc. He does what he can, and waits for nature to do the rest. In the same manner, we must learn to do what we can with the tools God has given us, and trust the future outcome to His capable hands.
Second, patience pays off. Like the farmer, the ability to wait for a long-term outcome is usually rewarded with a nice dividend. Even if things in this life don't go the way we expect, we still have an ultimate reward awaiting us at the Lord's coming. Believe in that final objective, and the hardships of the present become much easier to bear.
Finally, patience is infectious. In farming communities, everybody learns to adjust their expectations to align with the farmer's calendar. It's just good business that benefits everyone. It's the same in any human cooperative: an organization or family that is wracked by turmoil can be healed by one patient person, usually a leader, who can calm everyone down and get them back on task.
The world needs more patient people. God's children are the best qualified to provide that leavening influence. Let it begin with me.