Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
James seems to be getting back on track here after what some consider to be a temporary diversion from counseling believers on Christian behavior. Clearly, now, he is back to talking to believers in the churches he wrote this letter to.
It is possible that his guidance over the next few verses was written in response to the things which had apparently happened to these believers in the previous ones. Guidance to those facing trials and hardships, and the ways we deal with them, is a recurring theme in the writing of James. We first saw James addressing patience in the face of adversity way back in James 1:4.
The way writers like James put things into language which his readers would instantly understand is very fascinating. In this case, James uses another agricultural reference to teach just how patient his readers should be. He also teaches in this description about the importance of both patience and proper timing. Of course, God’s timing is the actual reference, but proper timing is key.
In the agricultural season in the land at that time, two periods of rain were essential to a successful growing season. The early rains came in October or November around the beginning of the Fall planting season to help ensure the ground was ready for planting. The late rains would come in the March and April time frame, to provide a last dose of moisture prior to the harvesting season.
Just like the farmer knows that if he is patient, his crops will come, James is encouraging these believers to stand firm in the promises of God to come one day. Paul wrote similar encouraging words to the believers in the church at Galatia.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
What else can we learn from this passage? We can learn that not everything happens on our timing. In this case we can learn that, as the crops come according to biological timing, God’s plans come according to God’s timing.
Another thing we can learn here is that we are not in control of everything. The farmer certainly cannot make his crops do anything. They will do what they do, as long as the Farmer has done his part. That is very much the same as God, who will do His part as long as we do our part.