“Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).
Because of James’ stern warning of non-Christians (in verses 1-6), it appears that some Christians were the recipients of horrible mistreatment: their wages had been withheld; they had been defrauded; they had been unjustly accused and victimized.
How do you cope with and conquer such adversity and difficulty? How do you resist the temptation to retaliate? How do you live as a victor over—not a victim of—your circumstances?
James inspired counsel (vv. 7-11) for dealing with adversity begins with:
Take a long look forward. The Greek word translated “patient” denotes “long tempered” or “long minded”. It implies a willingness to restrain your emotions and refrain from hasty (and poor) conclusions based upon superficial criteria. The outcome of a battle is not determined by which army suffers the first casualty.
The outcome of the war of good vs. evil is absolutely certain. When Jesus makes His second appearing, He will lead the army of Jehovah’s hosts with its horses and chariots of fire and there will be complete, unconditional victory. All evildoers will be justly punished. Right will triumph.
Christianity is not a religion of instant gratification. It is like farming: You do not sow and reap on the same day. The afflictions suffered in this life by the righteous is light and momentary in comparison to the exceeding and eternal weight of glory that is enjoyed in the life to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).
When dealing with adversity, take a long look forward and remember how the war ends.