This morning the message came from James (Santiago 5:7-12).
7Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
8You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
Pastor Norberto outlined the ways God asks us to live our lives with patience. Growing up a farmer's daughter (and then the niece of many farmers :), I know that no matter how much grumbling goes on... the rain will come and go in the Lord's timing. I remember my mother singing us the song, "Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient you only start to worry. Remember, remember that God is patient too. Just think of all the times that others have to wait for you." So, yes, the idea of patience was ingrained at a very early age, "Have patience, child!"
But, I don't think I understood patience in the sense that it is used here. Something interesting I've learned in speaking Spanish is that the verb "to wait" is the same verb "to hope." This may seem insignificant to you, but as I read this morning about patience and started connecting th dots, I realized that our patience and endurance in suffering is also our hope.
In verse 11, we read, "Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful." Those are blessed who remained steadfast. I did a quick definition check on steadfast and I found words like "firmly fixed, established, rooted, firm in purpose..."
Be patient! Be steadfast! Establish yourself firmly in the hope of the Lord because NOTHING else can withstand the suffering God allows for those becoming like Christ. I praise God for His perfect purpose, for His timing in allowing rains and droughts, and for His provision through the suffering - not just after.
I praise God for the way He has carried our prayers to the suffering hearts in Michigan. I praise Him for the plan we know nothing about. I praise Him for the life of Isaac Brenton, a beautiful baby who is now walking with His Savior. And I praise him for offering hope amidst suffering.
Continue to pray for Samuel and Bethany. Again, I know God is faithful to hear and answer our prayers. Pray for the memorial service, for the grieving process, and for healing. And, again, that God would be glorified in the lives of His servants.