James 5:7, “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.”
People often say, “don’t pray for patience!” The assumption is that if you pray for patience God will send you trials so you can develop patience. The reality is, however, that we live in a corrupted, “fallen” world. This world at its best is sin-stricken and broken. Trials are not just possible but unavoidable. As we face trials of various kinds (James 1:2-3) it is important that we seek God for the patience to persevere in a way that is not only pleasing to God but also in a way that highlights the glory and all-satisfying reality of a personal relationship with God.
As I look out of my kitchen window this morning at our garden, I’m reminded of the biblical example of patience given in the farmer. The farmer works hard preparing the soil, gathering the right seeds, planting those seeds and then . . . he waits. He waits, James says for the “precious fruit.”
What we, as Christians wait for is precious, more precious than any earthly fruit! We wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory. We wait for the triumphant reign of Christ in perfect peace and righteousness. We wait for the reunion with the all the saints of old, beholding each other in radiant glory with imperishable bodies raised from corruption into unimaginable beauty, strength and ability.
The farmer waits for that seed, that speck of grain, to come forth with a radically different form and increased usefulness for him and those who enjoy the precious fruit of the earth. The question now rises, as we wait, how shall we wait?
We wait with great hope - a sure hope of a glorious eternal future, secured through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.
We wait with joyful anticipation - of seeing the One who by his grace has saved us and called us to behold and reflect his glory for ever and ever with ever-increasing joy.
We wait with patient joyful endurance - recognizing that the trials of various kinds are for our good and the ultimate glory of God. God will cultivate patient, joyful endurance in his children through the trials of this life, not in their absence. I say joyful because we recognize the reality of whose we are and the reality of who we are in Christ.
God is the ultimate farmer and in his unquenchable joy endures the sin and rebellion of this age, knowing that he has begun a work and that work will bring forth the glorious fruit of that he intends, namely, bringing forth many sons to glory through the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:10).