Hurry up and wait
The parables of the land owner who went on a long journey who left his property in the
hands of the servants, the parable of the ten virgins where only half of them were ready, the parable of the talents being distributed with expectation for increase, all come to mind when talking about waiting for the Lord’s return. The process of waiting for an expected but delayed return can be difficult, especially when there are responsibilities involved for those waiting. How do we keep from becoming lethargic, impatient, or turning on each other while waiting is what today’s message is about. (Picture credit – blog.thefoundationstone.org)
Patience in Suffering
James 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is 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 each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers, 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 consider 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, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who created this world and will bring an end to it. History is my story and I will conclude it in accordance with my time schedule. In the mean time, I want everyone to be given the chance to know me in this life before it is too late; but that does not determine my schedule. It is always darkest before the dawn, so hang on to your faith because things will really hit the fan before my return. Just when you thought things could not be any worse, and you are about to lose hope, I will return with my reward with me for those who stand firm in faith.
I AM coming again. Just as I promised through the Old Testament, and came two thousand years ago and where my saints were looking forward to it, so too, you must look forward to my second coming with that same anticipation and faith. I said I would come and I did. So now I say again to you, I am coming again. You can trust my track record. Are you ready for me?
In the mean time, what are you doing about it? Are you living your life with hope of my return and my reward? Do you know what I expect of you? Or are you living your life in apathy that my return is a myth? Just like in the days of Noah, where people were carousing and living for their own personal pleasures, and while Noah was preaching righteousness, I sent the flood without warning. So too, I will come again while everyone is oblivious to me in their pursuit of self. Are you persevering by faith? Are you waiting faithfully, doing the work that I have given you to do? You are making disciples, but what kind of disciples are you making, ones that are anticipating my return?
So many times when we have to wait for something we can become impatient with each other in the interim. So much so that we start to snap at those we love. Movies are made of such topics. Waiting an indefinite time period can wear on our patience. Little annoyances in personalities can become large issues of contention. Fights break out in prisons because of the idleness of waiting. Militaries have internal problems when their men have been cooped up on ships and bases for long periods of time without leave or seeing action. Kids cooped up in the back seat of cars for long road trips can drive each other crazy. I can’t count how many times my dad asked us if we wanted him to stop the car – and not to stretch our legs either.
The same can happen in the church as we wait for the imminent but undisclosed return of Christ. Without a proper perspective as to what he would have us to do until he arrives, the church is known to fight among its members. And our enemy the Devil knows this. Instead of focusing on him as our common enemy, we devour each other. A house divided cannot stand. Do you think that those little annoyances are innocuous? They are attacks by the enemy to destroy our unity. And the world is watching and judging us.
Only God can do that for you
But patience as well as humility are not something that we can drum up. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit along worked in you. You either have his control or you don’t. It is that which will be rewarded in us. If you let God control you, his patience, love, longsuffering and peace will be rewarded in you. A humble person does not consider waiting difficult because it seems that he considers his time and opinions not something to be fought over. He doesn’t mind putting others time schedules before his own and will wait patiently without complaint. Only God can do that for you and in you. The only way to keep from the difficulties of impatience is to be about the Lord’s command in making him known to the world, and understand the enemy’s tactics at sowing discord among us. When the church stands united and in prayer with a common goal, nothing can stop it.
Job and Joseph
The two men who are true examples of patience through suffering from the O.T. are Job and Joseph. Job may not have understood his trials, but he knew that God was just in his dealings. He might have had some wrong expectations about him, but still God was his source. Joseph had the promise from the dream as a young man which sustained his patience. We have much more revelation and many more promises written for us to hang on to than they did. We need to trust God’s word and character even though we don’t understand the nature of our trials. Even though they make no earthly sense, God is in control and is working out his plan for our good and his glory even through the darkest of times.
The above passage is even more pertinent when we are in pain while suffering. When we suffer, we feel that we can’t wait until it is over and the pain is gone. I hate headaches in the night. I can’t sleep until the pain goes away. I really am a baby when it comes to pain. But so many have to suffer 24/ 7. As Louie Giglio says it “your pain is a megaphone of your attitude to the world.” They see your heart and what you rely on to get your through your suffering. Your testimony to the world is at stake. Some of the best testimonies of believers in the world today are those who are patiently enduring lifelong tragedy. They are patiently waiting the savior to wipe their tears away. Hebrews 11;35b says that “others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.” And Heb 10:34 “…joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” Wow. That is patience in suffering. the fact is that you are a testimony to your world. What kind of testimony are you? Are you the kind that complains about everything wrong in life? Or are you the kind who does the will of God (1 Thess 4:18) by thanking God for the trials and hardships?
More to come,