7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
In his letter, James wrote to a group of believers who were facing trials and stresses from being persecuted for their faith, while watching wrongdoers prosper. The theme of persevering during suffering arcs over the letter. In this verse, “the Lord’s coming” refers to Jesus’ second coming that the believers were waiting for, to be rescued from their situation.
James uses a farming analogy here because the audience was an agricultural population and would understand the quality of patience that he was calling them to have. Farming requires diligent, consistent daily work to prepare the ground for seed planting, cultivate and feed/fertilize the soil, and it would take months before they saw the seed move from one stage of growth to another to the final harvest. Back then, water irrigation systems were advanced and water for the crop came only through the rain, which was just as important as sun, air and soil nutrients for the plant to grow. So farmers would wait, not knowing exactly which day it would rain, but they knew roughly when to expect the rains to come.
In the same way, James also wanted them to wait expectantly for God just like they waited for rain. God would come, even if they didn’t know the exact time. Therefore, they were to continue to cultivate/live out their faith through their actions in kindness, love, self-control, humility, and sincere peace (described in the earlier chapters of James). To consistently choose this kind of life attitude in their pressing circumstances would be to stand firm, patiently – that is resilience.
Thoughts for the day
- If you are suffering for your faith now, remember God will come back and make things right, but in the meanwhile, in what ways can you practice kindness, love, self-control, humility, and sincere peace? Another way to think about this is, pick which character trait you want to practice/cultivate each day of the week.
- If you know somebody else who is, how can you be kind, loving, self-controlled, humble and sincerely peaceful with them, showing extra grace and compassion to help them walk through this season?
Dear God and heavenly father, there’s so much in your word about dealing with adversity. You call me to resiliently face my tough times with a life attitude/character that is hard to muster up sometimes. Let me remember the hope that comes with your second return, make it real to me. Fill me with what is needed today, so that I can cultivate this seed of faith in me to the next phase of growth. Use me today, to encourage the development of seed of faith planted in somebody else’s heart too. Amen.