I visited Singapore recently on a holiday. One of the highlights of my visit was the amount of queues I had to stand in.
When I needed a taxi, I stood in a queue. Waited for the monorail. Stood in a queue. Supermarket, shopping mall, tickets counter. Stood in a queue. Water slide ride. Stood in a queue.
Never before have I spent so much time in queues.
Queues are a picture of waiting periods
They reminded me about the waiting periods we go through in life and couldn’t wait till we got out of. Some of us couldn’t wait till we got out of college, got a job, found love, got married, got kids, got out of debt.
If you haven’t realised already, we spend a lot of our lives waiting.
It is one thing to wait in a supermarket queue. Another thing when you wait for people to change, your health to change, finances to change, marriage to turn around. James chapter 5 mentions three waiting periods; he encourages us to be patient when we meet such circumstances.
When we need to exercise patience?
- Uncontrollable situations
“Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as for you wait the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen” (James 5:7, NLT).
James says we need patience, when we face uncontrollable situations (ex: the return of Jesus). He uses farmers as an example. They had to do a lot of waiting because they had to till, plant, prune before harvesting. They also had no control over the weather, economy, and labor practices. James tells us to be patient when we face uncontrollable situations. Why? Because we do not have control over such things.
Sometimes, when things are uncontrollable, we try to control them. We do that by worrying. But worrying is useless. The Bible says, “can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Mathew 6:27). God encourages us to be patient during queues of uncontrollable situations.
- Unchangeable people
“For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10).
James says we must be patient when people are unchangeable. He says look at the prophets. The prophets were entrusted to turn people to God and change their lives. However, prophets were resisted and persecuted, yet they served God. James says when you face unchangeable people, remember the prophets, and their example of patience.
- Unexplainable problems
“We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance” (James 5:11).
When you face unexplainable waiting periods, be patient. Everything was going well for Job. Then everything fell apart. He lost his family, friends, wealth, health and joy. A lot of things in life may not make sense. It didn’t make sense for Job, but he kept his faith. When we experience queues of unexplainable problems, God wants us to be patient.
Here is why we can be patient:
We can be patient because God is in charge. We may not see Him, but it doesn’t mean He isn’t working things out. “You can see how the Lord was kind to him (Job) at the end” (Job 5:11). What He did for Job, He does for us.
When we know He has our best interest in mind, and when we trust Him to do the right thing, we can wait for Him patiently.
And when you wait patiently for Him, make sure you also:
Wait expectantly: “… I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised” (Psalm 130:5, LB).
Wait confidently: “I will wait confidently for God” Micah 7:7, GNT).
Wait quietly: “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:26, NIV).