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Prophets, Patience, Advent

The spiritual life is about patience. The season of Advent draws us into an attitude of patience. When enduring patiently, it is helpful that you are not the only one who must wait. It is even comforting to know that others have waited before and perhaps even longer than you. James 5:10-11 draws our attention to the patience of the prophets who foretold the events God would bring about in the world He created:

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

When I take the patience of Isaiah who walked around naked for three years (Isaiah 20:3) as an example, then I don’t feel so bad about the patience God is asking of me. There is Jeremiah who never married and was cruelly tormented in a pit of excrement (Jeremiah 18). These same prophets were never far from the mind of Jesus. He spoke of them in Matthew 23:37:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

When patience is accepted, it becomes perseverance. When we persevere, we will be rewarded. This happened for Job. This happened for the prophets if not in their lifetimes, then in eternity.

Advent is a perfect season to take in the promised reward. The culmination of Advent is the Feast of Nativity that has captured the heart of the whole world in becoming the holiday of Christmas. It’s an amazing reward. I spent a Christmas in the Middle East and found Santa Claus and Christmas trees everywhere I ventured. The reward of Christmas enchants the world.

Each Advent-Christmas we live out a spiritual reality. We can learn the truths that the prophets proclaimed through the season of Advent. We accept the wait with patience and receive the promised reward—the Good News of the Gospel. Our personal waiting may take longer than we hoped. God explains that, too. 2 Peter 3:9 says:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

I need to keep God’s goodness in mind when I begin to feel inpatient with my life.

May the season of Advent draw your soul into the beauty and value of patience and waiting. May you wait with patience and discover the joy of waiting for what you hope for. May the prophets be the example of how to live your life.

 

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