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Monday, March 26, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 34 ~ The Waiting

Day 34 ~ The Waiting

James 5:7-8 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. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

Perhaps the hardest day of the year for children is December 18th. Why? It is one week before Christmas! You are so close to the most exciting day of the year! But, oh, that next week seems like it will take an eternity! Or, how about the last day of work before you go on vacation? It takes forever for 5:00 to come around, doesn't it? As Tom Petty once sang, "The waiting is the hardest part!"

Often this is the feeling in the church when it comes to the return of Christ. We look at the world around us falling apart, we grow older and our bodies begin to fall apart, our struggle with sin just won't seem to go away, and we may find ourselves looking at the clock and crying out, "How long, oh Lord?" Think of how much the anticipation must have been felt by the church James is addressing. They had fled their homes to avoid persecution for their faith. They were never sure if they would live through another day or be killed for confessing Jesus as their Lord. They had no security and no home. One wonders if we can comprehend the depths of their desire to be at home with the Lord.

In the midst of struggle and trial it becomes easy for us to grow frustrated and anxious towards God. We may even begin to question His love! When things are really rough and it seems as if we are in the pit of hell, we find ourselves crying out with the Psalmist, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" (Psalm 13:1).

God's gracious answer to the "how long" question is found in the mouth of Jesus, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am " (John 14:2-3). We don't know how long the Lord will allow our world to continue to run like it is, but we can persevere no matter what may come because we know that our dear Lord Jesus, who suffered on the cross, also rose again. In doing so, He prepared a place for us in eternity. We can cling to this promise because we know that Christ is clinging to us with His nail pierced hand. No matter how long we must wait we know that Christ is holding us the whole time.

Confession: Heavenly Father, I confess to you my impatience. In my weariness with the strains and trials of this life I find myself doubting your promises and giving in to sin. Forgive me for not trusting you through my trials. I thank you that Jesus endured the cross for me, taking my sin and my shame. I pray that your Holy Spirit would empower me to endure my trials and I praise you that you will never let me go. AMEN!

Challenge: Shut off the TV tonight and talk to someone for one hour.

Pastor Bob

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