People Need a Bit More Patience
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
We live in a world that is fast paced and information travels at the speed of light. There are a few things that I could live without but wouldn’t want too. One is my computers and the second is my iPad. But what do I hate the most about them? Is how slow they seem! I regularly find myself becoming impatient with them! Today we are focusing on patience, or the lack thereof.
“Therefore 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. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
– James 5:7–12 (NKJV)
We tend to get too impatient in our lives with everything around us, especially when we are going through hard times in our lives. We think God is moving too slow. So let us explore the subject of patience today.
James starts out by giving his readers an illustration about farming. There is no such thing as a successful impatient farmer because he won’t wait for a harvest. No crop appears overnight and no farmer has control over the weather. Too much rain can cause the crop to rot, and too much sun can burn it up. An early frost can kill the crop.
He must also have patience with the seed and the crop, for it takes time for plants to grow. Jewish farmers would plow and sow in the autumn months. The “early rain” would soften the soil. The “latter rain” would come in the early spring and help to mature the harvest. The farmer had to wait a while to see a harvest.
Why did he willingly wait so long? Because the fruit is “precious.” The harvest is worth waiting for. Galatians 6:9 says, “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not” and Mark 4:28-29 states “For the earth produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Too often today we are not patient. We don’t see the hand of God working. Sometimes we don’t realize that the season we are going through is God lining things up where they need to be so that His will can be fulfilled in our lives.
James continues by saying don’t grumble or by upset with one another and then he uses the image of the prophets going through suffering. Here we must keep in mind the illustration of the farmer. James didn’t tell suffering believers to put on white robes on, climb a hill, and wait for Jesus to return. Though some have done that and they were crack pots.
James now turns to an example of the prophets. Jewish people at the time would understand this reference to the Prophets.
The prophets tell us that God cares for us when we go through sufferings for Christ’s sake. Elijah told Ahab that there would be a drought in the land for three and one half years; and Elijah himself had to suffer in that drought too. But God cared for him, and God gave him victory over the priests of Baal. It has been said, “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”
Many of the prophets had to endure great trials and sufferings, not only at the hands of unbelievers, but at the hands of professed believers. Jeremiah was arrested as a traitor and even thrown into an abandoned well to die. God fed Jeremiah and protected him throughout the siege of Jerusalem, even though at times it looked as though the prophet was going to be killed.
Both Ezekiel and Daniel had problems, but the Lord delivered them. And even those who were not delivered, who died for the faith, received the special reward for those who are true to Him.
The example of these prophets should cause each one of us to spend more time in the Old Testament learning about these great men of faith. Romans 15:4 states, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The better we know the Bible, the more God can encourage us in the difficult experiences of life. People often say that God puts them through these experiences. Nope! The fact is that we go through difficult experiences because sin entered into the world. God will use them, but He is not responsible for them. The important thing is that, like the farmer, we keep working, and, like the prophets, we keep witnessing, no matter how awful the circumstances in our lives become.
If James had to talk about patience back then, when by today’s standards things were slow and God was moving slow, then how much more do we need to be reminded today? We need to remember, as Christians, that God is control and we need to let patience have its’ work in us. Listen, things will not work out the way you think they will, or even should, in our minds. But they will work out in a way that God will be praised. So let patience have its’ work in your life and trust God dear Christian.
Somebody reading this may be saying “ well that is all and good Pastor Joe, but I am not impatient.” Really? Are you sure that there is no area in your life where you got ahead of God or allowed impatience to take over? If this is what you are thinking then I ask that during this time you ask God to show you some things. Trust me He will! The choice is yours.