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. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Yesterday, the preceding verses to this passage focussed upon patience and the waiting of the Lord. Today, we continue on the same topic but add in ‘grumbling.’ In most situations where we are finding it difficult to exercise patience we tend to fall into the trap of grumbling and or being grumpy. I can imagine that these oppressed Christians also were grumbling about how long to exercise their patience, ‘wait on the Lord! But for how long!’ James, points them back to the prophets and Job, where the Lord’s purposes, compassion and mercy came good. They just need to hang in there! In our grumbling about not being able to travel to where we want to go, being careful about hugging each other, or the slowness in getting our much-needed medical services back on track etc, may we pause for a moment, exercise some patience for the situation and for those trying to sort it all out and offer it all to the Lord in our prayers. A lack of patience, grumbling and being grumpy with situations or with people can be a blockage to fulfilling the Lord’s purposes, compassion and mercy in our world.
Compassionate God, forgive us when all we seem to do is grumble or be accused of being grumpy! It’s as though we want you to work at our pace. and lack the patience to work at your pace. Help us to learn from the lessons of the past, to see where your compassion and mercy has prevailed, and to be open and understand your ways of being in the world. May we have the courage to reflect on our short-comings so that we too become more open to your bidding and ministry. Amen
The Rev’d Jan Adamson is Clerk of the Synod of Scotland and Interim Moderator Bathgate URC, West Lothian