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. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7-8)
One day I was waiting on my oldest daughter to get out of the car and said to her, “Sweetie, come on. Let’s hurry up, we have to go.” She responded as only a winsome 4 year old can, “Daddy, you are really testing my patience.” It was clear to me then that those were words that she had heard before. Every parent has had their patience tested by their children. Truthfully, we all have our patience tested every day. Whether it is the cashier line at the grocery store, the car in front of us waiting too long to make a left turn or your spouse that has to do just “one more” thing before you can leave, we all will have our patience tested.
James encourages the church to be patient as a farmer. A farmer scatters seed and waits. He waits and watches. He waits until the early and late rains for his crops to grow. The life of the farmer is a life of patience. There is nothing he can do after the seed is sown, but to wait and watch. The life of the Christian is a life of patience. We wait and watch for the coming of the Lord. As the farmer waits for his crops to grow, we wait for Christ to return. In His return, He will make all things new and finish the good work He began in us (Phil.1:6, Rev.21:5).
And as we wait, our patience will be tested. We will be tested when we do not experience growth in our own lives or when we do not see growth in the lives of others. How can we grow in patience? One way is to look for evidences of grace in our life and in the lives of others. Evidences of graces are ways in which God is moving in a person’s life. Pastor CJ Mahaney notes,
Most people are more aware of the absence of God than the presence of God. Most people are more aware of the presence of sin than evidences of grace. And much of God’s work in our lives is quiet; it’s not “spectacular.” It’s rarely obvious to the individual, and normally it’s incremental and takes place over a lengthy period of time.
It is hard to see our growth. I have spoken to a number of Christians who are discouraged because they feel like they are not growing. They are impatient with their growth.
The truth is not that they are not growing, but they do not see how they are growing. The farmer’s crop is growing during the winter, but the fruit cannot be seen until the spring. Beloved, God is moving in your life and in the lives around you, the question is, “Can you see it?”
Study the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) and see how God is slowly growing those traits in your brothers and sisters. And when you see it, encourage the saints with what you see. If you are unaware of your growth, it is likely that others are unaware of theirs as well. Be patient in your growth like the farmer. You may not see it, but God is moving “for it is He who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)