James 5:7. CEB
7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth.
Captain the Cat is sick. She’s been at the vet since Sunday afternoon and they are still trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with her. Her fever is improving but she still doesn’t want to eat. I call to check on her in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening to see if she is improving at all. It is so difficult to be patient when my fur baby is miles away being miserable. I want her to come home! I am doing my best to practice patience, but I will not pray for it
Whenever someone tells me they have prayed for patience I say, “NO! Do not do that!” God doesn’t just hand us stuff. God is not our butler. God allows us to learn how to be what we wish to be. So when we pray for patience we are pretty much guaranteed to find ourselves in the longest, slowest line, or waiting forever for that check that is in the mail, or on hold for hours waiting to talk to someone at Unemployment or Social Security or the cable company. If we pray for patience, we are given the opportunity to practice patience until we get it.
Right now it is hard to be patient. We have been sheltering in place for just over two months. We are tired of our own company and our own four walls and maybe even our own family and loved ones. We just want to have someone serve us dinner, or get our hair cut, or a pedicure. (OK, those are the things I want. You might want different things.) But we have only been doing this for two months.
When James wrote this letter, the believers were waiting impatiently for the return of the Lord. They had been told that he would come before all of his apostles had died, and those guys were getting pretty old. It had been years, and still Jesus had not yet returned. James counsels them to patience while they waited for the right time to come. After all, the farmer had to wait patiently for the rain every season. There was nothing he could do to make it happen sooner. The rain would come when it was the right time for it to come. Like the farmer, they would simply have to keep doing what they were doing, and wait for the right time.
I have to wait for Captain’s fever to come down and her appetite to come up. We all have to wait until it is the right time to begin to venture out into our new normal. In the meantime, we must just do the things we are doing every day, and practice patience.
Gracious Lord, we know that all things happen when it is the right time for them to happen. May we spend our time doing what will please you while we wait for the time to be right. Amen.