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Patience in Suffering

“It is one thing to wait for the Lord’s coming; it is another to wait well.” Don Carson

If you are a Christian this is what you are waiting for the most: the Lord’s coming. But what does it mean to “wait well”? James tells us when he writes:

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.” James 5:7

To wait well is to wait patiently. In his commentary on the letter of James, Alec Motyer informs us,

“James’s doctrine of the Christian life is a doctrine of process or growth, and patience is its central requirement.”

But this central requirement is not my natural inclination. I bet it isn’t yours either. So we need grace in order to wait well since patience is clearly a central requirement in waiting well. And here is good news: James knows where that grace can be found. He doesn’t just exhort us to “Be patient.” Instead, he directs our attention to the return of Christ. Patience has a specific object, a specific hope: “the coming of the Lord.”

According to James, patience is cultivated by contemplating the coming of the Lord and the implications of His return. Patience is inspired by confidence in the promise of His return. This view of a certain future creates patience for the challenges of today. Contemplating this glorious future creates patience for present circumstances and specifically patience in suffering.

So, how familiar are you with the promised return of the Lord? If this hope is vague to you and doesn’t affect your daily life then you have some work to do and something to look forward to because this view of the future will have a discernible effect on your soul in the present. Hear James out on this. As we do, we will wait well and serve others well for it will be well with our soul.

This post is adapted from a sermon entitled “Patience in Suffering,” which I preached at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.