God is always there for us when we need Him. He listens to every word when we ask Him for help and He answers us according to His will. David recognized this in Psalm 66:20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! God deserves our praise for may reasons, but especially because He listens and answers our individual prayers and our prayers as a body of believers who wait patiently for God’s perfect plan.
No one likes to suffer under any circumstances, but in today’s reading James talks about considering it “pure joy” when we face trouble. James 1:2-3 says, 2 Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Notice how James does not say “if“, but “whenever” you face trials. We will all face trials of many kinds throughout our lives, but “joy” implies having a positive outlook because of the potential learning these trials can have in our lives. Ultimately, if we allow it, trials can lead us to develop perseverance (also called patience and steadfastness) in our lives.
Patience is tough. Waiting on someone else’s timing can be excruciating. But when we wait on God’s timing it is always worth it. James 5:7 uses a great analogy, Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. Just as a farmer knows the wait will be worth it, so should we know how much better God’s timing is than ours.
Today we read the short book of Nahum which was written as an announcement of judgement on the Assyrians who conquered Judah. The prophesy of Nahum is focused on Nineveh which was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The book of Nahum is meant to bring comfort to Judah who was the subject of the Assyrian domination. The main message in this book is that God’s timing is perfect. It is hard to be patient for God to relieve us of stress or hurt, but sometimes He is simply preparing us for His blessings that are yet to come. Patience is tough, but God’s blessings are always worth the wait.
The verse that jumped out at me today was verse 18, A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. This is the very thing I’ve been working on lately. My first instinct is to get fired up about something. However, my first response should be to gain understanding and patiently address the issue. Being hot-tempered does nothing to stop a quarrel, it simply escalates to the point where nothing can be resolved.
It is hard to wait on God sometimes. We want Him to provide us with what we want and when we want it. It’s easy to get bogged down in the waiting and not be productive. In verse 7 it says, Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. This verse is specifically talking about Christ’s second coming, but the verse also applies to waiting on the Lord in general. Whether we are waiting on healing, our finances to get better, or that relationship; we must still be patient and wait on God’s timing! Further, there is plenty of work that still needs to be done and we don’t need to sit around doing nothing. We should still be productive!