James: Day 12

Patience for the Long Haul

by

Today's Text: James 5:7-20, Joel 2:23, Matthew 5:33-37, Hebrews 11:32-40, 1 Peter 4:7-11

Scripture Reading: James 5:7-20, Joel 2:23, Matthew 5:33-37, Hebrews 11:32-40, 1 Peter 4:7-11

When I see the word “patience” listed in Galatians 5, along with the other fruit of the Spirit, I groan. I’m reading happily along with love, joy, and peace, and then… patience. Ugh.

I know I’m not patient. Watch me try to fold a fitted sheet. But patience, as talked about in the Bible, is much more than remaining calm in the midst of fitted-sheet frustration.

Take the new believers in the book of James as an example. These people were Jews recently converted to Christianity. Because of their new beliefs, they were rejected by their own people. They were persecuted by everyone around them, and James tells them to do what?

“You also must be patient.”
- James 5:8

The Greek word often used for patience in Scripture is makrothumeo, which means… well, it means words that make me uncomfortable, such as:

Longsuffering
Slowness in avenging wrongs
Steadfastness
Forbearance.

Patience is much deeper than something you practice when someone is hogging the bathroom. Patience—the longsuffering kind of patience—is something that arises when real trial strikes.

A few months ago, my own longsuffering was tested. I wish I could tell you I turned to God, fully trusting Him during this dark time, but no. Instead, I shook my fist, and I shook it hard. I was angry at God, and I tried desperately to escape the anxiety and darkness by my own means.

You could say I was the opposite of longsuffering. I was short-suffering, tiny-suffering, microscopic-suffering. I realized in those few months that my pain threshold is nearly nonexistent and, even still, I know most of you reading this have weathered much worse. My life was not bearing the fruit of patience because somewhere deep down inside of me I didn’t trust my God. And somewhere even deeper inside of me, I had lost hope and convinced myself I was alone.

But there’s an amazing thing about the word longsuffering in the New Testament: it is almost always an instruction given in the context of hope.

Romans 8 says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. . . We ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (vv. 22-23).

And in Galatians 6:9, we’re told, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.”

We groan. But we don’t give up. Better still, we do not wait without hope!

We do not wait in vain. We wait for our God—the God who has promised and secured our full redemption through Jesus Christ.

May we do the same for each other in the face of our trials. Let’s practice longsuffering together. Let’s look at our lives with an eye to that glorious day in the future when suffering is but a long, forgotten memory of this earth.

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  • Longsuffering. That definition gives patience new meaning for me. It not only being able to wait but to do it without grumbling.

  • This daily reading truly shows God’s presence during the time to be “patient”. My husband and I have been trying to start a family and each month is a disappointment. We were optimistic this month and even in this time of waiting our faith has grown stronger. This morning I woke up and took the pregnancy test and saw the too familiar ‘negative’ sign. My immediate reaction is anger, sadness, jealousy, sense of entitlement, and discouragement. Even in my suffering, God is here… within this daily reading passage. To remind me to trust…something I do not do very well. I tend to try and take actions into my own hands. During this time I cannot do this on my own. This was a reminder of ‘hope’ in my time of patience…to trust the One who has perfect timing.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for you in this, Beth. Asking the Lord to continue to provide you with patience and trust in Him and His perfect plan. So grateful for you, friend.

      – Stormye

  • Asking for prayers for patience in my marriage. It’s been tremendously challenging over the past few years and I sometimes feel my disconnected husband will never fully return to me or to God. Thank you.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for you, Krista. Asking the Lord to redeem what is broken and to connect you and your husband.

      – Stormye

  • Stephanie

    Andrea, thank you for your encouraging words. It’s as if God has answered my burning questions through the scripture passages and your devotional. Incredible!

  • I’m not sure if I even struggle any more with patience, of if I’ve passed the point of being patient into just being numb. My husband and I have been married for 10 years now. Still no baby. No infertility issues, that I’m aware of. We haven’t even gotten to the trying stage. We’ve got a great marriage. But we’ve always worked for start up companies or ran our own business so, bringing a child into that instability has never made sense. I’ve gone through the obsession stage, where getting pregnant was all I thought of. I guess you could call that my 7 year itch. I bugged my poor husband about it relentlessly. But, we just weren’t in a place that it made sense financially. Before you say it, trust me…if I had a dollar for every time someone told us, “you’ll never be ready for a baby financially…” I could probably buy 10 babies. I’m not looking for that. God knows, I’ve heard every version of it imaginable. I’m not angry at God, but I do want to smack people every time they say that. It gets very old. I digress. At some point, after praying for years, I reached the point to where I just…didn’t let not having a baby bother me any more. I still care. I still want a baby more than anything. Being a mother is the one thing that I know, more than anything, I’m meant to do on this Earth. But, I don’t know…God either finally granted me the patience I prayed for or I’ve become numb to the pain of the giant baby-shaped whole in my heart. I’m not mad at God. I know when the time comes, we’ll get our baby and it’ll be perfect. I don’t understand why everyone else gets theirs before us or why the heck God gave me this unquenchable desire, but no way to fulfill it…None of it makes sense to me, and that’s irritating…but, I really do think I stopped being mad a long time ago. I’m no spring chicken either. I’m in my mid 30s. My husband just says, “Hey Sarah was like 90 when she had Isaac.” So…am I impatient for not understanding these things? I don’t expect to understand them…and that only mildly irritates me. But, I just don’t know if I’ve just given up or if I’m actually being patient…

    • Eva

      Nikki, we are called to trust God with our fertility as much as with everything else in our lives, including our jobs, relationships etc. are you saying you are waiting for the right time to “try”, or are you ready to try and your husband isn’t for financial reasons? Maybe it is not about being patient as much as it is about allowing God to manage this area too? Just some discussion points to have with you husband!

    • BennyB

      I agree with Eva! Praying for you Nikki and the relationship!

    • Amber

      Nikki, I understand how you feel. Next month my husband and I will be married for 10 years and we are both in our 30s. All I’ve ever wanted to do was grow up, get married and have kids. Over the past 8 years we’ve tried to start a family with no luck. And “trying” to get pregnant is not something that I can do consistently for years. I’ve given up a few times because it’s emotionally draining. I understand what you mean when you say that you’re not sure if you’ve given up or if you’re being patient. I’ve often wondered the same thing. It’s so confusing to have an overwhelming desire to be a mother and then watch everyone else get exactly what you want- and it seems to me that they don’t even put much thought (or effort) into it, it “just happens”. Sometimes I wish that getting pregnant would have “just happened” to me so that I didn’t have all this time to think about things like being financially ready. I don’t know anyone that’s going through the same thing as me, and often I feel like I’m all alone. It’s comforting to know that you have the same confusing thoughts as me, and I hope that you read this and know that you are also not alone. Trust God to clear your mind and to focus on what he wants for you right now.

  • PronetoWander

    I feel like this is speaking to me about a broken relationship that still torments me and gives me anxiety and I’m so tired of it! I don’t want it to consume my thoughts anymore or be derailed by a bad look shot my way. I keep praying for freedom or healing, even my dreams at night are affected. I think God is telling me to have patience here. It’s been over a year but at least it isn’t as bad as the beginning!!However it did bring my walk with the Lord closer during that time. I read a lot of those ‘protect me from my enemies’ verses lol.

    • songbird

      So sorry to hear, and I feel your pain. Sometimes delivery from pain, fear and sadness will only take small steps. Hang in there. I will pray for the alleviation of your pain!

  • I have found in my life that long suffering is actually how you react and act in the everyday life situations as you are waiting. I tell my daughter and nephew it is living in the ‘while’ times of life and not the ‘when’. It is what you are doing during the trials, ex. Keeping your eyes on Jesus, having a greatful heart, seeing God’s hand in every situation of your life, trusting that God will bring good from your situation. It is when you look back at a difficult time in your life that you realize that you were actually practicing long suffering just by walking through the trial while holding onto Jesus’ hand.

  • This is a praise report, sparked by today’s topic. I’ve been waiting YEARS for any fruit to show in my relationship with older brother. For years he’s been an addict at odds with our family, and many have lost all hope for him. I’ve been praying, for YEARS, for Jesus to take the wheel and turn the car around in my brothers life.

    Last year he got completely sober. Then this year he’s started coming around, not skipping family events anymore. And last week he reached out — a friend was recently homeless and got sober, needed furniture for his new place. My brother wanted to help him, as he’s been where his friend is at. So last night we collected donations together to get his friend back on his feet….and my brother looked ALIVE. We talked about God. And I was able to taste and see some fruit from all these praying years.

    Is it over? Certainly not! But after waiting so long – sometimes impatiently, always in prayer — it is a miracle to see this fruit. Our God is good and full of compassion indeed. And He knows our every need, sees into our hearts, and meets us where we are at, in His time. He’ll do it again and again! We just need to stay steadfast in prayer, in it for the long haul. May the God who supplies all our needs grant to every one of us patience to persevere in prayer whenever trouble comes our way. May we ever trust and lean on Him!

    • She Reads Truth

      This is SUCH a cause for praise, Kylee! Thank you so much for sharing!

      – Stormye

    • Kimone

      How awesome. Glory to God. I too know what it’s like to have a brother struggling with an addiction and God knows I’m praying. Your report gives me hope. May He walk the sober path right into the arms of Jesus. Blessings to you both.

    • Emily B.

      That is awesome! Thank you for sharing just what faithful prayer can do. Our God is so good!

    • Emmy

      What an amazing story! There IS power in prayer. God is good!

    • Ellen

      Yeah! Thanks for sharing this encouraging story! Nothing like a concrete example to illustrate hope in patience. I hope your brother is inspired to help more people, and to catch the bigger picture of God caring floor and restoring His people. Keep praying, girl!

    • Kendra

      YES! Thank for sharing, it’s encouraging!

    • Wildflower

      This is AWESOME, SO happy for you girl! These are like my favorite testimonies because more than anything else my biggest prayer is for those I love to come to Jesus. Yay ❤️

    • songbird

      Beautiful! thanks for sharing

    • Candy

      Kylee thank you so much for sharing this. It gives me hope for my son who is where your brother was. It helps to know that yes my prayers are being heard and in God’s time I will get my son back! So happy for you and your brother!

  • Rebekah DeLibro

    Thinking this over and at first thought I would say I “think” that I am really strong in the faith part but really weak with the patience part. However, when I dig deeper I realize that my faith hasn’t really been tested personally in a way where I was rejecting God or angry with Him. I do worry about this and say in prayer things like ” I hope I am never tested this way Lord” or please don’t give me a trial like this or I will surely fail’ I mean how selfish can I be right? I pray for His will to be done but then give God parameters in which to do so. I know that fear does not come from the Lord and I am trying hard to not let it get into my head and tell me the lies that keep us from His love. I do pray everyday that my words will bless people and my actions show God like mercy and love. As Christians I think it is so very important to be accessible and relatable without conforming to this world and its counter productiveness. It takes lots of letting go, lots of patience and lots of faith. I agree that it isn’t easy and I pray I will emerge as someone that lived the fruits of the spirit more that she didn’t.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for sharing this, Rebekah! So grateful for your insight and words of encouragement this morning!

      – Stormye

  • Man, these verses are so rich and about so much more than patience. I almost wish they could have been broken up more. I don’t struggle with patience, which is TOTALLY a God thing. But the bigger pic seems to be living a life that matches your profession of faith. Don’t swear, be patient, don’t complain(!!!), pray, praise. Contact the elders: wow, how many churches/people take this to heart anymore!! God seems to be showing me lately that the big picture is what counts to those who need Jesus. That is what they see. So instead of picking one attribute and working hard on it, I need to make my focus being as Christ-like as I can in each situation God sends my way. The Christian life is hard!!!!

    • wendy

      YES! I love how you said it, no sweet and sugar coating, it’s hard! How many churches take this to heart? The churches that are “busting at the seams.” BUT, there is hope and help, The Holy Spirit was sent specifically to empower us in these areas, so breathe it in and pray fervently!

    • Rebekah DeLibro

      So true Debi and Wendy! I agree whole heartedly.

  • churchmouse

    If I truly believe that the Lord is compassionate and merciful, then I will press in to the hard times expectantly, not impatiently. Instead of saying “I can’t wait for this to be over” I will say “I can’t wait to see what my Lord will do!” Easier said than done but for me, the battle is primarily one of attitude and perspective. It’s an ongoing prayer.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Boom! You totally nailed this right on the head for me this morning!!! I am in the midst of a very difficult season…perspective shift has been slowly occurring, but this was the final piece I needed……I can’t wait to see what my Lord will do!!!!! Love & hugs sister!

    • Rebekah DeLibro

      This is great! I am writing that down everywhere in our home! “Instead of saying “I can’t wait till this is over, say I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do!”

    • Liz C

      Thank you for encouragement to change my perspective on trials. May was a rough month and I kept wishing for June to come but perhaps I should start thinking “I can’t wait to see what my Lord will do with this month!”

  • Sometimes I feel like I don’t realize I’m in a “long suffering” situation. My prayer this morning is that my instinct is to look to the guidance of the spirit in all things and that the awareness is there and I can cling to the hope that we have instead of formulating my own plans. I’m in a season of “wanting more” out of my life – the monotony is getting to me even though exciting things are happening all over the place. Maybe it’s not suffering, but I pray that I work my patience muscles before I dive into doing something else that might not be what God wants for me right now.

    • Lydia Romanin

      Yes, I think sometimes it takes a while to realize what situation you’re in, what emotions you’re feeling and then being able to verbalize it. May the Lord continue to give us wisdom about ourselves, to know how He sees us and what He wants us to do.

    • CJ

      Erin – I am in a similar season – wanting more and finding difficulty in the monotony. Getting in this word every day has really helped, along with pausing and asking God, “is this what I really want/need/desire?” Ill be praying for you. <3

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