Some things are happening in our world right now that are disheartening. I sometimes wonder how much longer God will put up with it.
There’s hurt, there’s anger, there’s injustice, there’s violence.
More people are rejecting God’s plan for marriage for a less offensive, more “tolerant” approach. Unborn babies are still being killed, and fewer people believe in Jesus Christ as God’s revelation of himself.
And then, of course, there’s the virus, and the uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, and division that it’s created.
Like us, some of James’ readers were really struggling. Some of them were apparently being oppressed by people in positions of authority, and they were getting tired of it. It seems they were questioning how much longer they could hold out.
So James tells them:
Be 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. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:7-8).
Notice what James tells them: Keep your eyes focused on the future return of Jesus. Twice in these two verses, he mentions the Lord’s second coming.
He uses a farmer’s patience as an example. Just as he plants and fertilizes and waits for the harvest, so must Christians. And he doesn’t mean do nothing, of course, but he wants us to know that just because what we want isn’t happening right now doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen.
“Everything will happen when it’s supposed to,” James says. “Just hang in there.”
It’s healthy for all of us to be future-focused. It’s easy to get discouraged because of what we see around us. Maybe it’s world or national events, or maybe it’s something closer to home.
Maybe you’re sick or discouraged or worried. Maybe you’re tired or homesick. Maybe your faith is being challenged, and you’re wondering how much longer you can hold out.
He’s coming back. He’s coming back soon. And when he comes back, he’ll reward your faithfulness.
“Soon” in the Bible doesn’t always mean soon according to our timetables, though. We’re living in the final age of the world—the Christian age—and at some point Jesus will return and deliver the kingdom to the Father.
But he’s coming back, and whatever we’re worried about right now won’t be an issue then. We’ll no longer be tired or discouraged or worried. We won’t be fretting over the trajectory of our world’s morality and integrity. Our backs won’t hurt, and we won’t be sighing, crying, or dying.
He’s coming back.
Staying focused on that will help us endure whatever we face in this temporary life.