From James 5:7-12. WHY BE PATIENT?
#1. Because God is in control. “Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” v. 8. Three times in this passage, James says, “The Lord’s coming is near, Jesus is coming back. That is the ultimate proof that God is in control. Nothing can stop it. The Bible talks more about Jesus’ second coming — when He comes back to judge the world — than it does about His first coming.” God is in control of history — “his story”. He’s got it all planned out, everything is on schedule, nothing is late, it’s all moving toward a climax. God is in control. God’s purpose for your life is greater than any problem you’re facing right now. God is in control.
Phillips translation, “… resting your hearts on the ultimate certainty…” Though a situation may be out of my control, no circumstance is out of God’s control. Although I can’t control everything that happens in my life, God can so I ought to trust Him. Because God is in control and everything is working out, be patient. Job persevered. God’s timing is perfect, He’s never late. Some of you are experiencing a real delay right now but God’s delays never thwart His purpose.
#2. God rewards patience.V. 11a “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.” Notice the word “blessed”. The second half of Job’s life was more blessed than the first half. God doubled everything he had. It pays to be patient. There are all kinds of rewards. Your character grows, you get along with people better, you’re more happy, you reach your goals. There are lots of benefits of being patient. God rewards it. You’ll be honored by others. They’ll say, “He’s a patient person.”
But not just on this side of eternity, but on the other side you’re going to be rewarded. Matthew 5:13-14 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” When people put you down, when they criticize you, be patient, because there’s going to be a reward in heaven.
It is our natural tendency — one of the strongest desires in life — that when you’re hurt, you want to get even. You want to retaliate, get revenge, take matters into your own hands. When you get criticized, you want to criticize back. If you get insulted, you want to insult back. Revenge, retaliation are the natural thing — but that’s the opposite of patience. James says that the next time someone criticizes you, before you strike back, think about this, is it worth giving up the reward I’m going to have in heaven? I’m going to enjoy that a whole lot longer than the temporary pleasure of revenge. You need to be patient because God is in control and He’s going to reward patience.
#3. Because God is working things out. Often behind the scenes, things we don’t even see, He’s at work but we don’t see Him at work. v. 11b “You have heard of Job’s perseverance, and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” God was working, all the time that Job was not knowing what was going on, what was happening. God was working. A delay does not mean a denial. If you’ve been praying for an answer to prayer and you haven’t gotten it, you think God doesn’t want to give it to you. No. A delay is not a denial. We have to learn the difference between “no” and “not yet”. Big difference. We want and we want it now. But we have to be patient. God is at work, even when we don’t see what’s going on. God was at work in Job’s life, even when he didn’t know, “Why is this happening to me?”
Story of Phillip Brooks, a famous pastor of the last century. One day he was in his office, pacing the floor, frustrated. Somebody walked in and saw him and asked, “What’s the matter, pastor?” He said, “I’m in a hurry and God isn’t!”
God says, “Be patient because I’m working things out.” While I am waiting, God is working. You need to remember that! Your hands may be tied and the situation may be uncontrollable but it is not uncontrollable in God’s viewpoint. In advance, thank God because He’s working things out. He gives the illustration of the farmer. When the farmer plants the seed, he’s waiting for that seed. While he’s waiting, God is working behind the scenes to cause that plant to sprout. He’s creating the conditions so at the right time, in the right way there will be a harvest. The farmer waits, God works.
Philippians 2:13 “God is at work within you.” Maybe you can’t see it, but He is. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things, God is working.” In every circumstance in your life, God is working. Be patient. I don’t know what kind of problem you have this week, but regardless of the problem you’re going through (financial, relational, health) God is working in that problem. Be patient and trust Him.