Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. ( James 5:7)
The early rains in Israel usually would come in late October or early November. The farmer would anxiously await these because they would soften the hard-baked soil for plowing. The latter rains would come in late April or May. These were essential to the maturing of the crops. If the farmer were to rush out and harvest his crops before their time, he would destroy them. So he had to wait.
As today’s opening verse demonstrates, James knew that patience also was an important factor in awaiting the Lord’s return. No crop appears overnight. Like farmers, we need to be patient and recognize that it takes time for growth to happen in our lives. However, the word patience does not speak of a passive resignation but of an expectant waiting for the Lord. This is not a casual, nonchalant approach. Rather, it is an excited expectancy, a readiness.
Some believers don’t live this way. They just passively bide their time. But the Bible tells us we should be actively preparing as we await the return of Christ: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Romans 13:11-12).
Let’s be sure we are living in a holy manner — and with expectant optimism and joy —as we patiently wait for Christ’s return.