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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Live Well Waiting

James 5    Jeremiah 29-30    Psalm 133

“The farmer waits . . . You also must be patient” (James 5:7,8). In today’s readings, we hear a familiar call: Wait patiently, the Lord will return and put all things right! James speaks it, and the Lord promises it through Jeremiah, saying, “For the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people” (30:3). But what is the nature of this waiting? What does patience entail? And how do we handle difficult times and unwelcome situations in the light of God’s promise of future restoration and healing (Jeremiah 30:17)? Well. Patient waiting may surprise you . . .

“Build houses and live in them” (Jeremiah 29:4). The prophet’s letter to the exiles in Babylon turned them upside-down. They were not where they wanted to be. They longed for home and hoped to return there soon. But Jeremiah wrote: Settle in and live; you’re going to be there a while . . . The Lord is with you and will ultimately restore you, but in the meantime, as you wait, live the life you have. And live it well . . . And isn’t this what James means to communicate when he counsels, “you must be patient” (5:8) and follows with very practical instructions on living well until then (v.12-20)? Do you see it? Patient waiting does not entail sitting around in a funk, hating the hand we’ve been dealt. Nor does it involve a foolish focus on accumulating things (James 5:1-6). What it does mean is: Trust God, who is with you and for you, and live wisely and well while waiting.

“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). No matter our situation, it is always good and pleasant to live life together well. “Let your ‘yes’ be yes” (James 5:12). Build, plant, and seek the welfare of others (Jeremiah 29:4-7). Are you suffering? Pray. Cheerful? Sing. Sick? Seek hope, help, and healing. Together. (James 5:13ff). Wait by living. It is a good and holy word. May you be encouraged and filled with trust. May your present life reflect and anticipate the coming of the Lord. And may you hope in God and live well today. Amen.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you,
says the Lord,
plans for your welfare and not for harm,
to give you a future and a hope.”
— Jeremiah 29:11

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