Six and a half hours into the five hour drive, I realized that Connor had asked me, “Are we there yet?” at least a dozen times. I could sympathize. That is a long time to be stuck incarcerated in seatbelt, much less a carseat with an over the shoulders harness. Having no real sense of time or distance yet, it surely was frustrating to this four year old.
Finally I figured out a way to (hopefully) slow down the questions. The next time (approximately 3 minutes later) he asked, I said, “Connor, look out your window. Do you see your house?” He would crane his head around both sides of his car seat and answer, “No, Nana! I don’t see my house!” And I would say, “So are we there yet?”
Patience. It is a difficult thing to teach a child, especially when we’ve lost it ourselves. I have often confessed that my favorite prayer is, “Lord, give me patience. AND GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW.”
James 5 counsels patience to an impatient world:
7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
10-11 Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
I wonder how much we actually think about the Master’s Arrival. Jesus has promised to return, and his Second Coming will usher in a new rule, a new world, and a new Kingdom on earth. But we walk around so consumed with our daily chores and burdens, we forget to anticipate that his return might be any day now.
But we’re not home just yet.
Impatience is a distractor that basically has no purpose. It doesn’t produce much beyond frustration, lack of focus, anger, and a feeling of annoyance. When children get impatient, we try to just distract them long enough for the thing to transpire. But as adults, we give into impatience and turn waiting into seething and seething into action. We take the matter into our own hands when we should have left well enough alone.
James encourages us to stay steady and strong. He reminds us that those who have staying power, those who stay the course, will discover that God is working to bring it all together for us in the end, just as he did for the old prophet mentors.
What are you pushing hard at right now? We often try to rush and hurry things that are better left to develop and grow on their own. A child who is slow to learn, an idea you are trying to promote, a marriage that has lost its charm, a dream you can’t wait to realize, a purchase you can’t afford without a credit card….life moves slowly at times and we impatiently force things that we shouldn’t.
James instructs us today to allow things to mature and be realized in their own time. God will bring rain that will do its slow but sure work to whatever it is you are trying to handle on your own. The farmer knows to wait. Be patient like that, and before you know it, you will be home.
Photo by Allison Brown.