A 2006 survey of more than 1,000 adults discovered that most people take an average of 17 minutes to lose their patience while waiting in line. Also, most people lose their patience in only 9 minutes while on hold on the phone. Impatience is a common trait.

James wrote to a group of believers who were struggling with being patient for Jesus’ return (James 5:7). They were living under exploitation and distressing times, and James encouraged them to “set the timer of their temper” for the long run. Challenging these believers to persevere under suffering, he tried to stimulate them to stand firm and to live sacrificially until the Lord returned to right every wrong. He wrote: “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (v.8).

James called them to be like the farmer who waits patiently for the rain and the harvest (v.7) and like the prophets and the patriarch Job who demonstrated perseverance in difficulties (vv.10-11). The finish line was just ahead and James encouraged the believers not to give up.

When we are being tried in a crucible of distress, God desires to help us continue living by faith and trusting in His compassion and mercy (v.11).