James 5:7-8 reads, “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” (NKJV).

In verses 1-6 James had issued a serious warning to “the rich” who had been oppressing “the poor,” telling them that judgment is coming. Consider these sobering words, “You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you” (verses 5-6). True believers were being taken advantage of, even to the point of death, yet they offered no resistance. In verses 7-8 James turns to believers to offer a word of exhortation and comfort. In light of “the coming of the Lord” they are told to be patient and to stand firm. It’s only a matter of time and the tables will be turned; the oppressed believer will be with the Lord and the wicked will meet with their deserved judgment. Though the coming of the Lord is at hand, we aren’t told exactly when we will hear His blessed shout summoning us to glory. Thus we are to be like the farmer who plants his seed and then patiently waits for the Lord to bring the early rain (that causes the seed to germinate) and the latter rain (that brings the crop to fruition).

It is NOT easy to be patient, whether we are suffering oppression from the rich, persecution from the ungodly, or even everyday trials that we are called to pass through. James had begun his epistle with this same lesson in 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Patience seems to the hardest thing to learn and the Lord uses trials to teach us the value of this virtue. We are naturally “restless,” and often we rely on our own resources to either “get out of a trial” or to “get through it.” Once we truly “let go and let God” (as the saying goes!), the blessed fruit of patience springs up, allowing us to be at peace in the midst of the stormy trials of life. Then, and only then, can it be said that we are letting “patience have its perfect work,” which James describes as being “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” I take it this means we will have reached a state of spiritual maturity where nothing is lacking that we need to glorify Christ, to be a blessing to others, and to experience the “peace of God that passes all understanding” in our own souls. And as we saw in James 5:7-8, our hearts will then be fixed on “the coming of the Lord.” (247.5) (DO)