“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. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8 (ESV)
Jesus is coming back one day. It can be easy to push this thought to the back of our minds, but this is actually a future event that we can be certain will happen. We don’t know the timing, so we find ourselves in a period of waiting.
Someone who is a farmer by trade counts on their harvest to provide for their family – it’s a big deal, and it involves waiting. There is a beginning (planting the seed), then a work to be done (the wait), and finally an ending (enjoying the fruits of his labor). The farmer must have patience during the waiting and tend to his crops if he wants to have a harvest.
The seed was planted in your life when you first came to Christ, and the glorious ending will be when you see the fullness of God’s plan: complete freedom from your struggles, sin and pain; unending peace and joy; and finally getting to meet Jesus face to face. But until that ending, there is a waiting and cultivating period. And truly, most of the human life is spent waiting on a lot of little endings – once we get whatever we are waiting for, then there is the next goal and the cycle begins again. It is in these times of waiting that God builds us up and refines us.
So many things in our lives today are instantaneous, but the things that matter often take time, like developing Christ-like character, investing in others and sharing your faith, persevering through a difficult season, and being faithful in the midst of disappointment and temptation. Waiting well requires patience, and patience doesn’t always come easy. That’s why James tells us three times in these two verses: Be patient.
We have the best ending of all ahead of us when Jesus returns for his people. And there will be lots of little endings in your life until that happens. So in the meantime, what are you doing with your wait? Talk to God about any area where you feel impatient or discouraged, and keep your eye on the ending – the best is yet to come!