Saturday: December 14       

James 5:7-10

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.


from H. Thomas Chafin, First Christian Church, St. Albans


It is often said, “He can’t stand prosperity.”  And you know…prosperity is hard to stand.  But when you clear away the cobwebs from your rationalizations, the most difficult of all things to stand is affliction. James’ audience was most familiar with suffering when this relative of the Lord wrote his little letter.  They were persuaded that the only remedy for their plight was the immediate “return of Christ.”

Persecution was very real to early followers of the Lord and James encourages them to allow it to become an opportunity for joy.  He said, “when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Some in Jesus’ day even believed in “prenatal” sin which would manifest itself in some kind of affliction after the person was born.  Just such an idea was posed when the disciples asked Jesus if a man born blind had sinned while he was in his mother’s womb!

There were misconceptions both then, and now about the cause of suffering, yet there are many enduring unbearable pain and sorrows.  And we who bear Christ’s Name must also share the news of a merciful God who continues to “return to us” with hope, healing, love and peace.

God of hope, reveal your mystery of love,

even in the midst of suffering, that we might celebrate more fully the coming of Christ to the world.


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