JAMES 5:7-10

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! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth. As a counter-example to the mechanistic metaphors of reality that dominated the Western mind for more than four hundred years during the industrial age, models of organismic growth and dynamic complexity are being recovered from ancient wisdom traditions for the challenges and opportunities of today.

As this writer knew, the deeper evolutionary processes of spiritual life and awakening are not events that can be engineered or induced by external interventions. Growth comes from within, from below, out of the concealed depths of waking potential, energized, gestating in the dark womb of the earth, the woman, or the creative imagination – all symbols for the ground of being giving existence to all things.

The machine operator must remain the ever-vigilant superintendent, manager, and mechanic in order to ensure the efficient and productive interworking of all the parts. A farmer, on the other hand, while directing great care and intensive labor to the preparation of the soil, the planting of the seed, and guarding against weeds, locusts, birds and other dangers, must above all be patient.

Having provided for and cooperated with the conditions necessary to the germination, growth, and maturity of his crop, he needs to wait on the miracle of life and the rhythm of time. The farmer waits, but waits with expectancy!


It is so difficult to be patient! We may ask for God’s help in developing greater patience, but then we grow impatient for the results. When we are impatient in waiting for something to happen, it is easy to take our frustrations out on each other. So many faith communities just like the church in Jerusalem get embroiled in interpersonal conflicts and disputes, not because they are necessarily more beset with problems than other groups, but because their members lack a shared sense of purpose (or mission) and/or the spiritual grounding (individually) of inner peace.

Indeed, many churches become so involved and highly invested in the programs and ministries that achieve their corporate mission, that this deeper spiritual connection withers from neglect. The critical skill required is to work diligently for the accomplishment of goals in the world and to nurture our mystical communion with God in that holy space of our inner life. When we are at peace within ourselves we find that we are much m ore patient, flexible, and resourceful in our outer life.

The discipline of strengthening the heart – not simply the emotional center but the core self, according to the biblical languages – involves the practices of contemplative solitude, centering prayer, meditational exercises, and spiritual reflection. The world makes precious little space and has little patience for such commitments. We must make the space and protect the time, if we are to grow into God.


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