““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. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:7-11.).
Are you suffering today? Christian, are you hurting? Does it seem like you’ll never get relief? It’s likely that you are being tempted to pull back from God. It’s likely that you are being tempted to lose hope. Do neither. Put your faith in the Lord and persevere. James gives us three examples of patient endurance.
Farmers have to be patient. The cultivation of the ground, the planting of the seed and the development of the plant takes a lot of time and backbreaking labor. Farmers can do everything correctly and they are still dependent on outside factors which they have no control over. They have to patiently wait and hope for the moisture to come. It’s not easy. It’s maddening.
But like a farmer waiting for the crop to develop so he can enjoy the harvest, we are called to patiently wait in eager anticipation of the Lord’s return, persevering no matter how long it takes or how hard life gets. The farmer’s job takes patient perseverance but when the harvest comes, all that waiting and all that tribulation becomes worth it! It is hard for us to wait for what God has planned but it’s worth it! Be patient. You’ll have no regrets when Jesus comes for the end time harvest and you find yourself in heaven.
A biblical prophet was someone called by God to speak the truth on God’s behalf. Sometimes prophets where given messages about the future but their main job was to speak forth truth. It was often a thankless job to be a prophet of God because these folks typically were bringing messages of rebuke to leaders or important groups of people. The prophets had to deal with regular rejection and sometimes they were attacked and treated harshly for their unpopular messages.
To be prophet and do God’s work, you had to patiently persevere through a lot of hard times. It was hard to be obedient, as there was a price to be paid to do the Lord’s work. To do the Lord’s work as the Lord’s prophet you needed to have hope in the Lord’s reward for faithfulness, because the recipients of your messages all too often weren’t applauding when you were done. Men like Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were hated for their ministry as prophets but they kept the faith.
You too keep working hard in the name of Jesus even when it seems like everyone is against you. Keep sharing the gospel, keep standing for the truth. When the Lord comes those who have overcome the world and its attacks will have no regrets.
James’ third example is Job. Job is famous for how he handled his loss and his suffering. He had a great life and he lived a righteous life, but God allowed Satan to take everything away from him, including his wealth, his kids and his physical health. His own wife, after his health was taken, suggested he would be better off dead (“Curse God and die”) and his friends wounded him deeply in accusing him of having some hidden sin in his life which was the cause of his hardships and sufferings.
Though Job struggled greatly to understand what was happening, and he complained to God, he never sinned against God or abandoned his faith in God. He persevered in his faith and eventually he saw God renew his life.
We don’t know why suffering comes and we never like it, but choose to keep trusting in the Lord knowing that sooner or later, upon the earth or in heaven, a new life will come.
Be patient like a farmer who doesn’t stop watching and hoping, be patient in doing the Lord’s will like the prophets did, and be patient like Job when suffering is thrust upon you. Keep the faith! Patiently persevere through this life and one day suffering will end and your faith will become sight and you’ll be with Jesus in the perfect and glorious kingdom which will never end.
Pastor Jeron Parkins
Living Water Bible Fellowship