Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop,
patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:8, 11 (NIV)
People have referred to the remarkable patience of Job since the time of the trials that demonstrated what a truly patient man he was. Some people seem to be programmed to have extraordinary patience. Job seems to be the greatest example of a patient person in recorded history.
Yet, if we read far enough into Job’s history, we learn that he too had his limits of patience. As chapter 2 of his biography closes we read that he did not sin in his suffering nor did he complain about his sorrows.
Yet, as chapter 3 opens, we read Job’s cursing of the day of his birth and we go on to read that he wished he had died at birth and other expressions of a man confused and in dreadful agony of body and mind.
We shake our heads in bewilderment at the immense suffering of this righteous man. If we are perfectly honest we admit we have no understanding of why he had to suffer in such a manner.
We are told in our verses today to consider the cycles of creation, and how the farmer—after he sows the good seed—waits through the rainy season and the sunshine until the crop ripens, in order to reap the anticipated crop. The world is predictable in its cycles, and that is the reason the farmer sows the seed in hope of a crop. If God had not programmed creation in cycles we would never sow seed in hope of a crop for the winter season.
The farmer persevered and we count him blessed—as our verses say. Then, as we look at Job, we reckon him blessed because of his perseverance. Job’s life went from blessed, to being cursed, to being blessed more than ever.
So when we look at the farmer and Job we can be encouraged by their willingness to be patient and look at how God runs His universe. Built into what we see in creation and history we recognize the hand of God controlling events and seasons to enable us to patiently wait for His time to bring justice to our world.
Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 40:1 (NIV)
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.