Bible Prophecy Encourages Patient Waiting
We read in James 5:7-8, “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”
Notice the emphasis: three times in two verses, a plea to “be patient.” Even though the whole world seems in a hurry, says James, “be patient.” Why? Because Jesus is coming, and nothing else really matters.
But the patient waiting encouraged by James is not idleness. It is like the waiting of the “husbandman who waits for the precious fruit of the earth.” Even with modern techniques of farming, the time needed to mature a crop has not changed. But the farmer has much work to do while he is waiting. The time must pass, but it must be used in cultivating, irrigating, spraying, or his will not be the joy of an abundant harvest.
Prophecy encourages us to wait and work. Likewise the believer must wait, but not in idleness. There is much work to be done before the great Day of the Lord arrives, all the work of maturing a fully developed, Christ-like character. Prophecy—knowing that the Lord is coming—encourages us in this waiting and working.
God knew the vigil would be long and the testing severe. He knew His people would need strong buttresses under their faith, rigid evidence to support their convictions. What could be more supporting than Divine promises that are actually prophecies?
When the Apostle Paul wrote: “Wherefore comfort [encourage] one another with these words,” what were the words he referred to? He had just told them that the dead in Christ would be resurrected, and together with the living believers would rise to meet the Lord in the air. What a delightsome expectation! God did not intend that we should know the day and hour of Christ’s return, but the Apostle Paul wrote to the anxious Thessalonians that “the times and seasons” would be known (1 Thess. 5:1).