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Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. — JAMES 5:8
One afternoon a boy planted a package of seeds to start a garden. The next day he returned to look for the new plants, but they hadn’t sprouted yet. So he dug them up to understand what had happened.
We are a lot like that. We expect immediate results. Maybe you have heard the American prayer for patience: “Lord, give me patience—and I want it now!” But only when the fruit of patience is allowed to mature slowly will we ever taste its sweetness.
In The Way of Christian Living, a book on the fruit of the Spirit, John Timmerman relates his discovery of the essence of patience. He grew up in a house with a drafty bedroom, and his parents would close that room in the winter and use it only to store Christmas presents. John would sneak into that room and delicately shake each package to guess the contents. But whenever he went into that room, his mom and dad would notice the rush of cold air in the house, and they would catch him in the act. The presents had to wait until Christmas morning. John learned to wait even though he didn’t feel like it.
Think and pray
Patience involves waiting with anticipation. Just as the farmer waits for the rains to help grow his crops, so we wait with expectation for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Patience involves awaiting God’s time without doubting God’s love. This means waiting without worrying, complaining, or demanding that God should satisfy our time table.
Lord, waiting patiently is hard for us. Spirit, please give us the patience we need for a life of fruitfulness in Jesus. Amen.
Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.