7 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. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 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.
by Brittany Perrine, Ph.D.
James is my favorite book in the Bible because he often uses relatable examples. When first reading this verse, I thought I would have so much to say about the analogy to farming, as I grew up on a grain farm in Southeast Michigan. Then I hit a roadblock: James uses the term "waiting." By definition, waiting involves inaction. On the farm, I was constantly exposed to preparation for the next season. Uncle Dean prepared the fields for planting. My Papa prepared the tractors for the next season or to sell when they could no longer be used on the farm. Jim prepared us for whatever weather was coming our way. Preparation involves action. Does a farmer ever just "patiently wait?"
In similar fashion, during Advent, we are constantly preparing for Christmas. We buy and wrap presents, send cards and decorate our homes. Doing these has become an expected part of the season. Do we ever just "patiently wait" for the birth of our Savior?
Patiently waiting involves living with messes, living with unresolved problems and living with to do lists. I know that this is something I do not like to do, but sometimes I have no choice. No matter what the farmer does, he or she cannot make the crops grow faster. No matter what we do, we cannot rush the coming of our Lord at Christmas.
Thankfully, James recognizes how challenging it can be for us to wait and how grumbling to each other about waiting surprisingly predates social media. We are challenged by James to wait together with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I believe we are told that we are not lazy or passive when we are waiting, because in the inactivity we are opening our hearts to the word of God. It is accepting that where we are in our faith journey at this moment is where He needs us to be. We can find joy in waiting knowing that while waiting we remain faithful as a Christian family. We can find joy in the knowledge of the end result of our faith journey.
My work at Baylor has been informed by my evolving faith. I have been inspired by the faithfulness of co-workers. I have been enlightened by the example of Christian leaders at Baylor University. I have had the unexpected delight of witnessing students unapologetically living their faith. I have learned what it means to have an open heart from a student who was experiencing a difficult time. I observed new ways of having conversations with Jesus from a student who had a time of great joy. I have heard new interpretations of Bible verses based on my students’ own experiences. These moments would not have occurred if I had not allowed God to put me where He wanted me to be and my work would not be what it is without them.
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Brittany Perrine, Ph.D.
Brittany Perrine, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. Dr. Perrine conducts research in the area of voice physiology using measures of vocal aerodynamic and vocal acoustics and examining endocrine and voice production measures in individuals under stress. Her recent research has involved examining endocrine and voice production measures in individuals under stress. In addition, she is examining the influence of cheerleading on vocal fold aerodynamic and perceptual voice measures.
Dr. Perrine has taught courses in Anatomy and Physiology and Clinical Instrumentation. She will be teaching courses in areas such as Voice Disorders and Cleft Lip and Palate.