7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
I mentioned to my wife this morning that, “it’s shaping up to be a busy day.” Just before I started this devotional today, I realized that on these buys days in life, I take on the “bull headed” approach by plowing through, shouldering all the weight, stressing myself to get it all done, and by the end of the say I’m exhausted and cranky. I try to focus my mind and shut out the world by praying before I sit down and do my daily devotional time and today I asked God to help me to focus on Him and handle things His way today instead of my own, to give me the wisdom to turn to Him for direction amidst the chaos. This is the verse that was next in reading this letter. Some things are just too fitting and perfect to be degraded by the word “coincidence”.
In relation to James’ current train of thought about gathering everything on this earth before the world comes to an end, here he is telling us to sit still and rely on the Lord, not our own understanding. If we accept that things are coming to a close on earth, in our humanistic ways of thinking, want to hoard all we can so we have “enough to survive”. However, if we trust in God to provide what is needed when it is needed, we need not to waste time and energy hoarding all these things that will probably rot before it’s time anyway. I believe this is what James is referring to when he says we should wait for both rainy seasons. My footnotes say that the area generally had 2 rainy seasons, one in the fall and another in the spring. He uses the example of a wise farmer who although wishes to have his harvest as quick as possible, knows that the best option is to wait it out until the harvest is ready.
Likewise, we are to be patient and trusting in the Lord’s timing. I think this applies to many aspects of life. It can apply simply to our priorities in life. Are we going to use our time constantly trying to achieve and gather “stuff”? I also believe this applies to evangelism. Especially for those who are on fire for the Lord, we get anxious and after a conversation about God, want them to “get it” and instantly believe. We forget that (in the continued analogy of farming) we usually only “plant the seed”. Have you ever noticed how long after planting the seed it takes for a plant to mature enough to be harvested? We see this all the time around York and Lancaster as we watch farms being cultivated and slowly growing crops. So too this happens with the planting of the seed and maturing of the desire to have a relationship with God. Luckily, it’s not up to us to make it grow.
We must be patient, both in our own skin in relation to the world as well as in evangelism. We must trust in God’s perfect timing and His power and His plan to roll out exactly the way He wants it to, not the way we think it should happen. We cannot plant the seed and harvest the same day, let alone the same month! We also should not worry ourselves with how much “stuff” we have and rather focus on our relationships with God and others. God will provide us with the things we need to survive, but it’s the relationships we must work hard at. After all, we are relational beings.
Where do you lack patience?