A letter from Jesus' brother

This devotional is written by Joe Moore. Joe works for a church in south-east London. He has degrees in Religion, Philosophy & Ethics from King's College London, and Theology, Ministry & Mission from Durham University. Joe loves good coffee, raising mental health awareness and walking his chunky rescue corgi named Revel.

James 5:7-12

Patience in suffering

7 Be 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. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple 'Yes' or 'No'. Otherwise you will be condemned.

Reflection

Have a little patience. The words of James or Take that?

I don't know about you but most of the time I struggle to be patient. The Lord over the last year or so has been teaching me about what it means to wait on him. This has not been comfortable or easy. We have all over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic had to learn even more about what patience looks like. Patience with others, patience with ourselves, patience with those in authority.

I wonder if any of you, like me, have cried out to God 'Lord, can't this awful time be over already?!' The toll the last year and a half has taken on us all has been immense, and it's not over. Isolation, anxiety and sickness have been key themes in our lives over these last months. It is no surprise that one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience. It is a virtue that we are to grow in, to develop, to pray for.

 In many ways, patience also teaches us humility. It reminds us that our timescale and our wants are very different to the Lord's. James refers to Job as a reminder that God's mercy is sovereign. That is a deep truth that we must cling to.

When people endure, we call them 'blessed by God'.

James writes to the early Christians in their suffering and challenges as an encouragement that however bad things seem, the Jesus who died and rose again for us is a constant amidst the turmoil. God is ever faithful. This Jesus will return and when he does we will know and experience the ultimate rule and reign of God - how awesome is that?

Persist in patience friends, and in so doing you will discover the mercy and kindness of God.


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