7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
It had been a rough month for Linda. Her husband had died after a lengthy illness. Her own health was not all that great. Now, after many years in which her husband had been the primary financial manager of the household, she was forced to navigate a bewildering world of insurance policies, investments, bills, and taxes. She had never done any of these things. Her husband had capably handled this for decades. But he was gone, her heart was broken. Now, every time she opened the check book or the bills which came in the mail, she could not but think about him and weep.
On the day of the funeral, however, she had good news. Her son, beloved and gentle, was coming back a week later. He had negotiated with his employer some time off just to help her set things in order after his father’s death. Her heart, which had been so upset was at ease.
James urges us to establish our hearts because the Lord’s coming is at hand. There are many foes and forces which you and I neither understand nor can control. Like Linda, we stand on a precipice, but not of financial mistakes, but the precipice of eternity. Just as there are sharks who would gladly take advantage of a new widow, there are those who would like nothing more than to ruin your heavenly treasure. You can establish your heart, however. The Lord’s coming is at hand. He came to Linda through that son who helped her set her affairs in order after her husband’s death. He also comes to set all the universe for our sake, conquering our foes and constraining the forces which would grind us and destroy us.