Before Michael Jordan retired from basketball, he once reflected on his playing experience by saying, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” He believes he succeeded because he did what my 5-year-old great grandson once said we all must do—persevere. That is the counsel the Bible writer James gave Christians suffering at the hands of corrupt rich people in his day. These evil people were ripping off the poor left and right. Jesus had shown disdain for crooked merchants who ripped off people in the Temple—He drove them out. Now his half brother, James, urges suffering believers in his day to be patient under trial. He said, “Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.” Of course, we know farmers do not just sit idly and do nothing as they wait for rain. They stay busy. So while we wait for God to judge the wicked, we faithfully use our abilities and resources to help make a difference in the lives of others.
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