We aren’t a patient people.
We are an order-anything-from-Amazon-and-have-it-delivered-on-our-doorstep-in-two-days people.
A fly-across-the-country-in-hours people.
A send-someone-a-message-instantly-and-wait-moments-for-their-reply-before-wondering-if-something-is-wrong people.
We get frustrated when the people who are supposed to fix it don’t fix it immediately. Especially when we are used to representatives of humanity being in control and thus having representatives of humanity to blame when they don’t do what we want them to do. Especially when we think our words and opinions have the power to influence reality.
We don’t like having our fragility that so often masquerades as strength put to the test.
After all, the human collaborative is strong. We should be able to fix it.
But what if we can’t? What if there is no quick solution where we’ve been conditioned to see them?
What if our technologies have passed a wand over our memories that have caused us to forget we live in a world in which it’s not *if* we tumble into “trials and tribulations” but *when*.
*When* is the word Jesus’ brother James used: “When you find yourselves tumbling into various trials and tribulations…”
Learn who is to blame?
Learn to fix it quickly?
Learn to look at it with complete joy.
Why? Because patience has an effect on us.
And it’s an effect that no amount of technology or problem solving can generate. Rather, it somehow contributes to our wholeness and healing in a way that transcends the best conceived treatments.
Patience isn’t cheap. It comes at a steep price.
We are paying for it now. This opportunity for patience.
But the garbage heaps of our world are full of expensive luxuries people paid for and then forfeited.
“What’s more, you must let patience have its complete effect.”
Yes, he’s serious about it.
“Busy lives” with “fine appearances” may be all the rage, but James isn’t sold on it. He reminds us that this isn’t what it’s all about. Rather, these these will whither away like grass and wildflowers.
Discovering what lasts is a slow process. A patient process. As one thing drops and then another. It’s something no school on earth can teach, no government can mandate, and no business can market.
What remains? What’s going to endure? What do we really need to treasure and protect? James reminds us that having the opportunity to discover these things is cause for joy.
This joy has nothing to do with denial or tone-deafness to reality. Rather, it’s a joy that looks ahead, like Jesus did, to a priceless treasure that awaits on the other side.