Waiting for Christ’s return
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:7-8 NLT
Waiting is a virtue that is difficult to come by. We are in a time and culture where we want everything to happen immediately and to wait is hardly an option. We are easily tempted to complain when we do not get what we want immediately. This is what James is addressing from the text. Christians during the times of James were facing tremendous persecution because of their faith and poverty. They wanted their suffering to end and it can only happen when the return of the Lord is ushered in. To illustrate the message God wants to convey, James used the experience of the farmer waiting patiently for the harvest. There is no harvest that happens overnight. The farmer also has to consider the weather to which he doesn’t have any control. If there will be too much rain, the field will get flooded and the crop will rot. If there is too much sun, the soil will get hardened and plants can easily dry up. This is why the farmer has to be patient and to time wisely when to plant so he will have a good harvest. This is important because of “the valuable harvest to ripen” (James 5:7). The harvest is worth the wait. “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). This is what characterized the life of a believer. This is why we “must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:8). We need to establish our resolve to remain steadfast in living the life God has called us to live by. There is a tendency that we get so overwhelmed dealing with trials that we become cold in our spiritual life. When this happens, we start to neglect the spiritual disciplines and our hearts become hardened. God has to plow and cultivate again our hearts so He can plant good seeds. “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns...surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord” (Jeremiah 4:3-4). When life is becoming difficult, we can endure because the glory that awaits us when Christ returns is nothing compared to what He has prepared for us. As the farmer waits, he is not idle and will do what he can do to experience the harvest. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Luke 12:43 KJV).