Calvin’s boss caught him sitting at his desk gazing out the window. ‘Why Aren’t you working, Calvin?’ Without much thought Calvin confessed to his boss, ‘Because I didn’t see you coming.’ (The Saturday Evening Post, Jan/Feb 1994, p.32)
In James 5, the writer reminds us that even though we don’t see Jesus now, the resurrected Lord is coming!
In my last blog, we saw how the earlier verses of James chapter 5 were an indictment of those who were misusing their poverty or their wealth—as a pretext for sin.
Now, he speaks to the abused in the last part of chapter 5. Read where he cuts to the chase for Christians who struggle in their growth, whether they’re the abuser or the abused.
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming… Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 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. James 5:7a, 10-11 NIV
There will be moments when we ache for Jesus to return and give us the new world the way it was designed to be. Imagine a world where there is no need for guns or weapons of mass destruction; where there is no need for pharmaceuticals because there are no diseases to cure. Often times we can get impatient for ourselves—as our bodies breakdown, as disease takes over, as we watch loved ones suffer for any reason.
The idea of having a new body right now, which doesn’t break down and functions perfectly—forever—sounds awfully good to me.
Yet, on this side of heaven, we struggle with our sin, our inability to get over past hurts and our inability to show the grace of God. We can get impatient by wanting Jesus to return, right now, to transform us into the people that we should be! It may not be peace in the Middle East we are so concerned about, as much as peace in our home or in the work place, and even in our own minds.
Frankly, to have a desire for the immediate return of Christ can often be the Christian equivalent of “stop the world, I want to get off!”
If you’ve ever been abused as a Christian, whether by other believers or unbelievers, it’s tough to get beyond the abuse. There’s a whole grieving process that has to deal with what happened, how it happened, and what to do after it happened.
Many of these believers, in James’ day, were desperate for rescue from their situation by the return of Christ. Don’t hear me blaming them. I understand. But, James calls upon his readers to wait patiently for the coming of the Lord.
What tests your patience? 1) Bible teachers who talk too long 2) Long lines at Costco. 3) Working with computers. 4) Telemarketers at 5:00 P.M. 5) Injustice on any level?
Even though James writes to many abused believers, there was something they could be in control of. They could be in control of not quitting under the pressure, or of holding grudges, or grumbling when they face an injustice.
He’s saying you’re not alone. And remember, the Lord is at the Door. He’s coming back.