Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. ~ James 5:7-11
I have not yet met a person who claimed to be good at being patient. It doesn’t matter how old you get – being patient is just plain difficult. And yet, we know we must somehow choose patience throughout our lives.
Like the farmer, we are planting seeds in the soil of those around us. We plant precious seeds of hope and love and truth in the hearts of our children, our spouses, our coworkers, our friends (and ourselves). And yet, we often don’t see the inner workings of what we plant (that’s not our domain – it’s God’s!). It may take a long time to see results. We can not witness the slow, silent progress that happens deep within the human heart. And as with the farmer and his crops, there are no ironclad guarantees for what we plant.
And so James tells us: “Be patient. Establish your hearts.” Other translations tell us to “stand firm” or to “strengthen your hearts” (NIV, NASB). Why? Our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Our feelings overwhelm us. Our doubts and insecurities will often grow faster than our faith, if we let them.
It is futile to seek heart strength from within or without – we only find it from God. Yet when we seek His strength to establish our hearts, we find enough patience for today. And that, beloved, is all we need.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26