Patience and Endurance
By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
Scripture Reading: James 5:7-11
Key Verse: James 5:11
“Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”
This weekend there was a 10k race in Richmond and this race is held every year at the same time. Rain or shine, cold or warm, the runners get out and do their thing. Those who regularly run have trained all year for it, running in other races also throughout the year. The ones who make it do so by endurance, pacing themselves for the whole race.
I am not one of the ones who runs in this race, as I have never been able to build enough interest to stick with my exercise routines long enough to build that kind of endurance. But, there was a time in my life (when I was much younger) when I enjoyed inline skating and even some tennis. Although I was not a master at either of these sports, I enjoyed them and I was willing to put some time in to them. And with some time spent, I got better at dancing on my skates, running for tennis balls and hitting them where I intended to place them, and I reaped the rewards of some physical endurance.
In the writings of Paul, we are told to run the race to win—the race of faithful living, following Christ for the long haul. James reminds us of the patience and endurance of Job, God’s faithful servant who was faithful even under significant duress. In verse 7, James says, “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, and until it gets the early and late rains.”
Patience and endurance–members of our little country church know the patience of waiting on plants to grow and bear fruit. Many of them have their own gardens, plant them every year. There is one fellow who seems to just relish in watching and waiting for the vegetables to grow and never seems to tire of it. “I just love a good root vegetable,” I’ve heard him say with joy in his smile. And his faith is like that—he trusts and he waits. He’s a good soul and a patient one. He has learned what his priorities are and life is simple and good. Patience and endurance have served him.
We are told to be patient and to wait on the Lord and while we wait we should strengthen our hearts, live by our faith, and do His will, disciplining ourselves for the duration until Christ comes again. And the scripture says we will be “blessed.” Blessed are those who endure.
Prayer: May we endure the race and run to win, that we may win the prize of your good graces and be told when we come to glory, “well done, good and faithful servant.” May we face whatever we must with patience and endurance, faithful in prayer and thanksgiving, graciously accepting your mercy and forgiveness. Amen.