Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Being Eternally Patient

“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

~James 5:7-8 (NRSV).

After reading this above passage from the “strawy” James, we might imagine an atheist laughing away at us, the believer, who’s ‘Lord hasn’t come yet.’ But, this very passage—in fact—sees them leave with egg all over their faces.

For us, the ‘early rains’ might’ve arrived—and depending on your viewpoint they might not have—but the ‘late rains’ have yet to make their appearance. The autumn rains might have come and gone, but the spring rain remains off in the distance somewhere. We’re patient farmers tending our crops of salvation living—until then, the cosmic harvest time.

Timing is never an issue with the Parousia, or coming of the Lord. It is hardly the point. We’re told by Jesus to never overtly focus on it, just to “keep watch” (Matthew 24:42).

We instead turn our foci and our hearts over to him who won us! He—through the Comforter, the Counsellor—deserves our undying devotion and clinging array of praise, notwithstanding the Parousia.

And so do we!—deserve to properly follow Jesus.

We, having found our way to the salvation of the Lord, deserve to endure and finish this race with patient aplomb. Having chosen for Christ, we deserve nothing less. And in this we count it the highest blessing when our patience’s tested. When we see it aglow with frustration and we wilfully smile with chagrin into our mirrors, knowing that God’s saving us—yes, right there in the thick of it—and we can afford to smile; indeed, we must grin and bear this thing, not denying but enduring.

Indeed, until those late rains finally appear, we should enjoy this journey; yes, all of it.

And we should pray that those late rains don’t appear before time—if we see God’s eternity—his rays of living heaven—existing in this world, that is. And they do. It is all too easy to see the present calamities—it is just as easy to see the tremendous Presence of the Lord in all things.

What do you wish to see today? Could your vision of things buoy your patience?

Why hurry the process. Why would we not want to live the fullest life and even experience the “fullness” of death? Life is punctuated if nothing more saliently than by the concept of death. Death brings meaning to life. And whilst we live, let’s get on with the living, patiently and determinedly.

We’re farmers, growing for our Saviour God, a crop of good worth—a mature crop, voluminously fruitful, that is reliable in its faith and virtuous to an inch. This crop sees us not easily grumble; it subsists to bring glory and praise and does not revel in its hardships. It cooperates with others patiently, not competing with them.

And it remains patiently growing and maturing until God says the show’s over.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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