“Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, we must be patient and filled with expectation as we wait for the appearing of the Lord. Think about the farmer who has to patiently wait for the earth’s harvest as it ripens because of the early and latter rains. So you also, keep your hopes high and be patient, for the presence of the Lord is drawing closer.”
The book of James in the Passion translation is a wonderfully convicting book of poetry. The words both cut and heal. And gosh, are they beautiful.
Take just these two verses for example.
While earlier in the passage, James chides the rich who live without fear of God in their hearts, he now likens the believer in Jesus to a patient farmer, waiting for the early and latter rains. Waiting for something that he cannot control.
How do you wait for something that you cannot control? Moreover, how do you wait both expectantly and patiently? Doesn’t expectance negate patience?
At first thought, expectance conjures up a soft image of a smiling mother sitting beside her young children on the sofa on a wintry night; shaking her head as they beg her to let them stay awake, in hopes of catching a glimpse of Santa Clause on Christmas Eve.
We can say with certainty that those children are expectant. But we can say with equal certainty that they do not personify patience.
How do we display both, as James commands us to?
The answer is found elsewhere in the book of James – Heavenly wisdom. God’s wisdom glues patience to expectancy. In Chapter 1, James teaches that God gives His wisdom freely to those who ask for it; and in Chapter 3, James teaches that there is a humility that comes from wisdom. I believe that with it, there is also a patience.
How does wisdom marry patience and expectance?
If my hopes are high, that means I am not expecting something mediocre. I am expecting something amazing and wonderful from my amazing and wonderful Father. Wisdom tells me that this thing needs time to become what it must be.
And so, patience comes, birthed from wisdom.
But what if I lose expectation and let my hopes hang low? Must I have expectation to have patience?
If my hope falls, I have no need for patience. Without hope, I am indifferent – and indifference is not the same as patience.
Patience precedes a promise fulfilled. Indifference doesn’t care either way.
Our God is far too good for indifference.
So, like the farmer, let’s live in a manner pleasing to our Father, for without faith it is impossible to please Him. Let’s expect good gifts from His hand; all while knocking on Heaven’s door for His wisdom, wisdom that teaches us to be patient…
…and to trust in His coming.
For truly, He is coming.