What’s Taking So Long?
Read James 5:7-8
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.
According to James, what are we waiting for and why is God keeping us waiting?
If you’ve ever planted a garden then you know that the results are not instantaneous. You put the seeds in the ground but the plants don't spring up overnight. The plants need water, sun, and time. And work. Good gardeners don’t just sit beside their garden while they wait. They tend to it. They monitor the moisture. They protect it against pests. They weed it. They look for signs of readiness. If they harvest too soon, the fruits and vegetables won’t be ready and won’t be good for food. But patient gardeners receive the good fruits of their labor.
In today’s verse, James told his readers to be patient for the coming of the Lord and compared it to waiting for crops to grow. If you are like me, at some point you might have looked around at the pain and suffering of the world and wondered what is taking so long? We are longing for Jesus’ return and sometimes it is hard to be patient while we wait.
But just as the farmer plants seeds and has faith the harvest will eventually come, we also have to have faith that Jesus will eventually come. According to James, the farmer is waiting for the early and late rains. He is waiting for the crop to be ready.
2 Peter 3:9 gives us more insight about this: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” We should be patient as we wait for His coming because He is being patient with us.
He is patiently waiting for those that He knows will come to Him in repentance. He doesn’t want to judge the earth before His people have had time to repent. He is patiently waiting for those who will be saved to be ready. He doesn’t want any of His people to perish.
He isn’t lollygagging. He isn't loitering. And He isn’t lazy. He is working in the hearts of mankind while He waits. And He’s asked us to join in the work.
We can patiently wait for the Lord because we know that there is a purpose to His delay. He is waiting for His harvest to be ready. In the waiting, we can tend to His fields. We can tell others about Jesus and plant the seeds of the Gospel. We can water what others have planted by teaching and encouraging believers. We can weed it by dealing with distractions that threaten to choke out spiritual growth. We can protect the premature plants from the pesty false teachers.
But James says that while we wait, we shouldn’t worry and doubt His return. He said to “establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” He is returning. We can count on that. Friends, we shouldn’t worry while we wait. We go to work while we wait. We wait patiently. But not idly.
Lord, I long for Your return! It can often be hard to understand why You are keeping us waiting but I trust You. I will wait patiently because I know that You are being patient with us. Show me how You want to use me to help harvest Your people. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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