James was writing to churches scattered all over the place and all of which were under intense persecution. He knew the temptation to want to give up, forsake the name of Jesus, and leave the church to escape this cruel punishment would be very tempting. That being said, he commands them to be patient and thus endure under suffering. The language he uses is quite strong, as these verses are littered not simply asking or suggesting but commanding.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. (James 5:7)
If there is one activity that almost every human being dislikes, it is waiting.
Waiting at the DMV, waiting in line at an amusement park, or waiting to turn sixteen so you can get your driver’s license just to name a few. The reason that most people do not like waiting is because they feel it is a waste of time. When you are in line at the DMV there is little else you can do other than wait.
Waiting just seems like it can only be a nuisance.
James 5 and Waiting
In James 5, however we see that James commands the church to wait and be patient in suffering. He uses an agrarian analogy that his audience would relate to. Planting and waiting for crops to grow and produce fruit is a long and agonizing process they would have known well.
First, the growing process is slow and can sometimes be a letdown. Second, there are many things that can go wrong during that time to hurt the plants. However, when the farmer endures and is patient, the end product is well worth it, as he can feed his family and sell the rest for profit.
So, what exactly is James commanding us to be patient for? The answer is the Lord’s justice.