Devotional — Be patient. It’s harder than it sounds.

Published 5:49 pm Saturday, December 17, 2022

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. — NRS James 5:7

Being patient is not one of the things that I do well. As I look around me, in line at the grocery store, the drive through line at McDonald’s or CVS, or just sitting at a stop light, I think a lot of other people might have difficulty with patience too. We seem to be a people on a mission. This is especially so at this time of year when have extra “to do’s” on our list. Perhaps we need to hear the message from the Epistle of James more than ever.

This passage from James is telling us to wait for God’s timing. We are to understand that God’s timing is perfect as is exhibited for us in nature. Years ago, I had the opportunity to “tend” to a farm. I was not growing seasonal crops, but rather trees; pine trees to be exact. Pine trees are a crop that does not become completely ready for harvest for forty to fifty years. Yet, there are seasonal things that need to be done. Fire lanes need to cut and maintained, limbs must be pruned and trees are thinned out every seven years or so. There was always something to do, depending on the season.

Working the land, tending to trees, was a good way to help me see how God has ordered nature and that all things come to fruition in God’s time. Unfortunately, after that phase of my life was over, I learned that it is a lesson that I need to be constantly reminded about. Like most people I seem always rushed to “get on” to the next thing, to mark off the next item on my “to do” list. At a time when we should be waiting, dreaming and excitedly cherishing God’s gift of love, peace, joy and hope…we are stressed out trying to make everything perfect.

The truth be told, God does have a good plan for us and it does not include busyness. It is a plan to wait, relax and enjoy the perfection God has given us.

Merry, Peace-filled Christmas.

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu..