Faith that works when the pressure’s on: A faith that handles delays patiently
One of the most important lessons you can learn in life is how to wait patiently — especially during a season when you’re experiencing constant delays. In this message, we continue our study through the Book of James by offering biblical steps for learning to trust God and wait patiently on His timing.
Something To Talk About:
- Remember God is in control: We don’t know what’s happening in the world. We don’t know how long this coronavirus is going to last. But we do know that God is in control. In James 5:7-9, The Lord is coming back is mentioned 3 times. “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for 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. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!” Why does James mention this 3 times? Because it’s the ultimate proof that God is in control. History is His story. Everything is on schedule. God has a plan. God has a purpose. And one day Jesus is going to return. The Bible talks more about a second coming than his first coming, and James is making a point. Although the situation may be out of control and what you’re going through may be unpopular and it may even be painful, it is not beyond God’s control, so be patient. He’s saying God’s timing is perfect. He’s never late. God is in control.
- Remember God rewards patience: In James 5:11 (NIV), he says this: “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered..” In other words, it pays to be patient. Now there are all kinds of blessings in life. There are all kinds of rewards. When you are patient, it builds your character. When you’re patient, you avoid mistakes. When you’re patient, you’re going to reach your goals. When you’re patient, you’re going to be honored by others. When you’re patient, you’re going to have happier relationships. There are blessings to be had through this period of waiting during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. There are blessings to be had in your character, in your life, in your family, in our church. And by the way, they’re not just rewards that happened here when we’re patient. The Bible says there are going to be rewards in Heaven too. Matthew 5:11-12, says, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”
- Remember this is not the end of the story: Remember, your circumstances are not the end of the story. Take the story of Job. God is still working out behind the scenes. “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” (James 5:11) We know how God fulfilled his purpose for Job. Job couldn’t see it. We know that His plan for Job ended in good because the Lord always treats us with tender compassion and merciful kindness. When you have a delay in your life, a delay is not a denial. The most difficult room to sit in is in God’s waiting room when you’re in a hurry and God isn’t. A lot of us are in a hurry to have this coronavirus thing be over. But I want you to know that while you’re waiting, God is working. Whatever the problem is in your life, while you’re waiting, God is working on your problem, often in ways that you can’t see.
- List some things that people wait upon God for?
- What’s something you’re currently waiting for God to do for you? What might He be doing in you?
- Why do you think God’s timing is different from ours? What could be so different about our perspective? What do you typically do while you are waiting?
- What situation that you can’t control do you worry about the most? What does James 5:7-8 say to do about it?
- Why do you suppose it is so difficult for us to be patient? What does waiting look like for you?
- According to James 5:11, God blesses patience. Think back on a particularly trying time in your life. What blessings did you experience? If you’re in a difficult season now, what can help you see blessings in spite of the pain?
- How is waiting upon God related to us growing as a Christian?
- What from this message did you learn for the first time?
- What from the message was surprising to unexpected?
Take one thing home with you:
No one likes to wait. But we wait in traffic, in holding patterns, in grocery stores, for the doctor, for a spouse, for a baby, for retirement, for sermons to get over, or for Jesus to return. But waiting biblical waiting, is not a passive waiting around for something to happen that will allow us to escape our troubles. Waiting does not mean doing nothing. It is just not a resignation of defeat.
Those who wait are those who work because they know their work is not in vain. The farmer can wait all summer for his harvest because he has done his work of sowing the seed and watering the plants. Those who wait on God can go about their assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and conclusions to their lives. Waiting is the confident, disciplined, expectant, active, and sometimes painful clinging to God. It knows that we will reap a reward. When Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem, (Acts 1:4) He was telling them that this was a means of experiencing His peace, His prosperity, and His power. In waiting they would catch the wind of God’s Spirit. In waiting they would see God move.