November 21 - Waiting Patiently
Both the psalmist and James are bringing a similar message to us today: wait patiently for the Lord. Although things are not as you expected, but cling on to God’s promises and He will do it for you. Do not get impatient and take matters into your own hands. Trust God, whatever He says, He will do, although not according to your own timetable.
The first part of the psalm is about the jubilation when the captives return home. They are filled with joy and celebration as if their dreams have come true and that God is lifted up among the nations. This is the perfect ending to what had happened to Israel and God had given them such promise. But when we read the second half of the psalm, there is a different picture: they were still asking God to return the captives, they were still sowing in tears but expecting a joyful harvest. So they kept on praying and declaring God’s promises despite of the circumstances.
There are also those who do not want to wait anymore, they have grown impatient and feel that they must do something. James is describing some people who take control over the situation: instead of waiting for God’s gifts, they withhold wages from their workers. They oppress the poor and the needy but live lives of luxury. They do not give to others nor to God, thinking that one dollar given is one dollar less in their worldly economy. This is an active way of dealing with one’s own impatience.
Another reaction is more passive, by blaming others for the misfortunes they have received. People blame the government, the church, family members and friends for their demise. They judge others without knowing that God, the Judge, is coming back soon to judge them. Their blaming in response to their dissatisfactions in life is a sign of not trusting God for His ultimate judgment on everyone.
Both the psalmist and James give a picture of the farmer, sowing seeds in tears but expecting a full and joyful harvest. When the streams in the Negev stop flowing, when there is no rain in sight, all the farmer has are the last batch of seeds and his own tears for watering them. James cites the patience of the farmer, waiting for the autumn and spring rains with a steadfast heart. The prophets and Job had waited and seen the promise of God fulfilled, showing that God is merciful and gracious.
Are you in a waiting mode? Keep praying and keep declaring God’s promises. When you are suffering, pray; when you are joyful, sing praises. Whatever may happen, you are still in God’s hand. The key is to confess to one another and pray for one another so that you may be made whole. You have plenty to do when you wait.
Ps 126:4-6 Ezek 42:1-43:27 Jas 5:1-20 Prov 28:6-7