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.
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from God’s glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
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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. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (James 5:7-12)
For me, patience is one of the hardest things for me to find. In our fast-paced world of text messages, high-speed transit, express check out lanes, streaming entertainment, and next-day deliveries, it almost seems foreign anymore to just be patient. We seem to be training our children to expect things to be fast and instant and that anything that requires waiting is inferior. There is a serious flaw in that logic. Some of the most beautiful moments in our lives demand patience…the birth of a child, a delicious home-cooked meal, and so many other beautiful moments where we most perfectly experience God’s presence in our lives. It is through prayer and meditation on God’s word that I find my ability to be patient constantly increased. Being attentive to God’s words in my heart, and aware of God’s presence in my life, requires immense amounts of patience. It is my prayer that, during this season of Advent, you also challenge yourself to slow down, be patient, and listen for those sudden moments in your life where God’s Spirit is present. Have endurance. Be patient. Wait for the Lord.
Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But the one who can no longer listen to his brother or sister will soon be no longer listening to God either; he or she will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he or she be not conscious of it. Any who think that their time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and their brothers and sisters, but only for the self and for their own follies.
…Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by him who is himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.
–This piece originates in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together pp. 97-99, but was excerpted from A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, page 356.