Patience in Waiting

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.  James 5:7-10

Patience is often called a virtue and most of the time it is. Patience is needed as we wait, whether it is in a long line at the check-out counter, in the doctor’s office, or for the arrival of a child. Patience is an attitude that allows us to relax when there is nothing we can do to hurry up a situation or make it turn out exactly as we want. The writer of James is encouraging his readers to have the patience of a farmer as they build their new community of faith.  The writer outlines how to wait with patience: increase your spiritual life, get along with those in your community, and believe that even your suffering and that of the world will not last forever.

What does this say about having patience during the Advent period of waiting? First each of us needs to be patient with ourselves. Don’t overdo; don’t try to see that everything is perfect; make time for your own spiritual growth. Second, patience is needed with family members and friends. For many people, their stress levels increase dramatically as Christmas approaches. Take time for relaxed activities with family /friends – perhaps even bake a few cookies, decorate and light an Advent wreath each week, or have a dinner out with a lonely friend. Third, patience is needed regarding the affairs of the world, the suffering of those involved in war, hunger, violence, natural disasters, etc. Many times there is little we can do about injustice so patience is required. Other times injustice requires action and we must be ready to respond.  Patient waiting expresses the hope we have in the coming of Jesus the Christ.

“Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;

behold, the King of glory waits;

the King of kings is drawing near;

the Savior of the world is here!

-Georg Weissel, trans. by Catherine Winkworth

Lord, help me be patient during this time of waiting. May I remember that my waiting is not for a one-day event, but for the coming of the Savior once again into my heart. Amen.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence




Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.