My brother-in-law farms canola with his dad. Farming is an incredible process that cannot be hurried. It also offers us a picture of patience. Every May they spend a month seeding many acres of land. Once they seed they must wait for the seeds to take root. Within a couple of weeks, the crops begin to sprout and they can begin to see evidence of the process that’s taking place. While the crop is growing, they spray to keep them healthy and to deter any infestation of weeds and pests. They also maintain their equipment so when the harvest time comes, they are ready. Normally within 3 months, the crop is ready for harvest. Then, once again, it’s time to go to work.
James instructs us to be patient and establish our hearts the same way the farmer waits for the precious crop. Their livelihood depends very much on the crop. Farmers know the process requires time and there’s not much they can do to hurry it up. What they can do is give the crop the best environment in which it can grow and be prepared for harvest time.
Wouldn’t it seem foolish if after seeding, they stood around grumbling and complaining: “These seeds! They’re painfully slow. I don’t have time for this. I can’t believe God would make me wait like this. Rain? Are you kidding? I only want sun. Ugh!”
Farmers know that there is a process taking place. They cannot escape it or fast forward through it. They have a role; as does nature, and as does God! They know that the rain is much needed. Without it, there wouldn’t be much of a crop.
This is the example James tells us to look to. Be PATIENT. The Lord’s coming is near. His presence is close by.
He doesn’t stop there. His next instruction is “Do not grumble against one another.” Have you ever been tempted to complain about the trial God has dealt you, or the people he’s placed in the middle of your trials?
Then James points us to look to Job as an example. And is Job ever an example! I love the encouragement found in this story. After Job’s livelihood is stripped away, his response was worship. He acknowledged that the Lord gave and took away and in both cases, He is praiseworthy. I love the words used to close Job 1 in verse 22: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” I recently read a quote that challenged me:
What are you saying about your current trial? Is joy overflowing? Are you acknowledging God’s purpose in the situation and in the relationship struggles? What you choose to say will influence you towards either thriving or just surviving.
There’s plenty more from Job’s example. After his wife suggests that he curse God and die, his response is, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” An attitude exuding gentleness and submission: “In all this Job did not sin in what He said.” I’m going to step out on a limb and say that what Job said in his trial, or better yet, what he didn’t say, mightily influenced how he experienced that storm. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like He sat around just smiling and waiting. If you read the story, you know that Job had a verbal wrestling match for 35 chapters before God spoke to Him.
But get this, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of a storm.” He didn’t give Job a pep talk beforehand, nor wait until the trial had subsided. He spoke through a storm.
At the end of Job’s testing, God made him more prosperous than he had been initially. Have you witnessed someone who went through an intense season of trial and came out more spiritually prosperous? They seem to exude the presence of God. Their faith is strengthened, and His love is now more deeply rooted? God wants to do the same in your life, and I pray so very much that He will have his way in your life.
One of my favorite worship songs is “You’ll Come” by Hillsong. Job could’ve written it. The words encourage me to wait on the Lord with resolve, trusting that He will come to free, heal and reveal in a mighty way. In the meantime, I should keep believing and declaring who He says He is.
Lord, thank you that You’re never finished with me. Thank you for the reminder that the riches of this life are temporary. Change my heart to be invested in eternity and Your kingdom. Thank you for all that you have blessed me with and guard me from any selfish desires. Thank you that You promise the coming of Your presence in my life. I pray that You would strip away anything in my heart and mind that would hinder intimacy in our relationship. Thank You for not just instructing me to be patient, but giving me examples of what that looks like. Thank you for what You did through Job’s life. Grant me a spirit of gentle humility as I wait for You in my circumstance. Guard my heart and mouth and help me to bless Your name in the midst of what I’m going through. Thank you that You promise to bless those who remain steadfast. Help me to obey You. Make me a person of integrity whose words are truthful.
This excerpt was taken from Journey Through James: A Roadmap for Trials. CLICK HERE to learn more.