I find it especially difficult to wait for something I want badly. The grown up version of “I just can’t wait ‘til Christmas” becomes, “Why isn’t my career, financial situation, ministry, relationship, or ____________(fill in the blank) getting better? When will something change?”
I suspect you struggle in similar ways. You desperately want your husband to get a new job so finances will improve and he’ll be happier. You struggle with a prodigal child, a difficult marriage, or a challenging ministry, and you wonder when the breakthrough will come. You give and give and give, and pray and pray and pray, and some days you wonder if you’re just wasting your time. Should you give up on the hope, the dream, the prayer?
James, the half-brother of Christ, penned words of encouragement for times like these:
“Be patient, brothers . . . 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” (James 5:7-8).
Since most of us aren’t farmers, we miss the profound significance of this metaphor. It speaks volumes of hope to those of us who are waiting.
Every day we plant a hope. We water it with effort and prayer—sometimes a lot of effort and prayer. Sometimes years of effort and prayer. And we wait. And we wait. And we wait.
Occasionally we see glimmers of what might be happening beneath the surface, but often we don’t see anything but flat, black earth. Sometimes things even seem to get worse, and we wonder, Is God at work at all in this situation, or is he off tending to more important business? And we grow weary.
What we miss by not being tillers of the earth is the necessary process of waiting. Did you notice that in the two short verses above, James used the word patient three times? Three times.
No farmer expects to plop a seed in the ground and come back the next day to harvest an ear of corn. He recognizes that time, warm dirt, and gentle rain will one day cause the seed to produce a harvest.
But not today. And not tomorrow.
He also knows that the flat, black earth isn’t a barren wasteland. It’s an incubator for growth and change.
How does this apply to our wait? A wise counselor once told me, “It’s your job to plant the seeds, but only God can make them grow.”
If you’re in the period between sowing and harvesting, please don’t despair. And don’t give up. Continue to pray, sow, and water, and, I promise you, the latter rains are coming. And then comes the harvest.
“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jas. 5:16).
What are you waiting for? If you’ll leave a comment in the comment box, I’ll add my prayers to yours, and together we’ll wait (patiently) to see what the Lord will do.
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I suspect there are quite a few busy women on your Christmas list. Friends, co-workers, fellow church members, and your children's teachers, coaches, and babysitters, just to name a few. If you'd like to give them a gift that will draw them closer to the Lord, encourage them to spend time in God's Word, and think biblically, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is the gift you're looking for.
And what about those special women in your life that may not have a relationship with the Lord? In the last devotion in the book, I share what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Giving someone you care about a copy of HFG is not just passing along spiritual encouragement, it's a gentle, winsome way to share the gospel.
Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time is available through Amazon.com,BarnesandNoble.com, and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
If you live in the Columbia, South Carolina area, I'd love to autograph and personalize copies for your special friends. Email me at LoriAHatcher@gmail.com.