In 1988 Guns 'n Roses released a song that I guess we danced to at every high school dance we had my senior year. It was a love song, and since they were a heavy metal band, it was one of their few ballads. But it was a good song.
"Said woman take it slow, it will work itself out fine. All we need is a little patience...""Patience" was the name of the song, and it talked about, I guess, a guy and a girl trying to get things worked out between them. But this song from Guns 'n Roses is not the only place we hear about needing patience.
James talks about it this morning (not me, the other James. The one that got a book named after him). Here's what he says about it..."Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near..." Then he goes on to mention Job, the very symbol of patience itself. We've all heard "He/she has the patience of Job," but it's not Job's patience that James is talking about.
Now, I know that James was writing to a group of folks that were probably experiencing persecution for their faith, and was probably not talking about having patience in the day to day stuff we deal with, you know what I'm talking about...money is tight and the bills keep coming, somebody in the family is sick, the kids are being royal whatevers, work is a bear, the kitchen sink is leaking, the lawnmower is broken again, and now the car is making a funny noise. Those are the things, that by themselves, might not be that hard to deal with, but piled one on top of the other, they can drive a person right to the brink of despair. And what do we tell them? "Just be patient. It will all work out." Well, I'm not intentionally going to say that anymore.
You know, it is real easy for us to tell someone, "Just hold on, it's all gonna work out. Just have patience." I've said it myself, alot. But the more I think about it, that's almost totally dismissing whatever it is that they are stressing over, and I don't think that's fair anymore. Maybe it's just one of those churchy pat answers we've come up with over the years, I don't know. Maybe it's all we can think to say when someone's world is crashing. Maybe it does help some folks feel better.
But if you look at what James was saying about Job, it wasn't his patience that got him a gold star. He wasn't patient at all. He shook his fist at God, cursed the day he was born, griped, grumbled, and eventually called God out. James talks about Job's perseverance, not his patience. He didn't give up until he got what he wanted...a face to face with God.
And I think that maybe that's what I'll start saying, "Just don't give up. You're not alone. I'll go with you as far as I can, then God will go with you where I can't."