Day 12

Patience for the Long Haul

from the James reading plan


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

BY Andrea Lucado

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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Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Patience for the Long Haul"

  1. Steph C says:

    “Be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains” (5:7). I love the reminder that patience is in the context of hope. Hope – confidence expectation that God will make everything right in His time. I am not called to patience in a void. No, HE is here with me. He comforts and holds me as I patiently wait on Him. He has given me hope … and so I wait on Him.

  2. Maiya H says:

    Wow, we groan, but we do NOT give up. In my waiting for God to show up in my finances, I am trying to be sure that I am waiting proactively. I know that my God is my provider. And those He calls, He equips/provides for. I know that he uses people as well, to provide through. And as a new missionary, this is the hardest part for me – seeking supporters in this calling, to support me financially…to partner with me…but my God. I trust Him. He has not failed me, ever. I know He won’t fail me now. So I wait…patiently

  3. Charity says:

    It took my having my own experiences with long-suffering to grasp the fruit of patience. I thought it meant waiting unbothered. Actually, the circumstances that generate patience often are some of the greatest most perplexing burdens we have encountered. What I have learned is that patience is not a punishment. God desires relationship with us, and we are familiar with how desperately we cling to God when our circumstances are unfavorable. In the midst of our suffering he still blesses us with His supernatural peace. He molds our hearts to better serve His kingdom, to share in suffering with others. It will not be comfortable but being pruned by the great vinedresser bears a beautiful fruit of sanctification, that will surely be put to use here on earth. It reveals more about God’s character too, which ultimately leads to our growth, in growing in knowledge and understanding of who our God is.

  4. Michelle Getz says:

    I am in a time of my life that patience is required but it’s killing me. I am so confused what I should be waiting for and what I should just go out and get. Up to this point, God has always put out opportunities that I knew I was supposed to take. I look back on my life and I see where God had a hand in making it all happen. Now I don’t see any opportunities, there is nothing in front of me, and I am closer to God now then I have ever been.

  5. Sarah Schumacher says:

    I love this book. I love this study. So many golden nuggets of wisdom.

  6. Michelle says:

    Reading this today, I was struck by the imagery of the farmers waiting patiently for the rains. Waiting patiently for God to provide. Doing what God has given them to do (prepare the ground, plant the seed, pull the weeds) and waiting on God for the rain and the harvest. Sometimes I’m am impatient, because I only see the pieces of what I can do (really what God has given me to do, or is doing through me) and that is when I expect results. But the good stuff in life? Isn’t at all connected to what I do. It’s all God.

    So I looked at the James passage again, and looked for what God is or is doing. He is coming. He is full of compassion and mercy. He raises up. He forgives. Wow!

    1. Emmeline says:

      Loved your observation here! Thank you for sharing – it really ministered to me today.

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