The Early And Latter Rain

by John Welch | via The Way (

A great source of frustration to Christians is the seeming lack of reward for their obedience. Many weak brethren who live on the bubble of prosperity, good health, and the best wishes of faithful friends are unable to cope with a situation changed for the worse. They cannot understand the apparently unrequited misfortune and rejection which is the lot of the Lord’s servants (Matthew 10:22).

Even greater contradiction seems added to this “insult” when those obviously sinful seem to prosper. They bask in wealth and popularity. They are eulogized in death.

The weak Christian will be lost if he does not learn patience. Patience inherently involves the ability to endure the contradictions of life while expectantly working toward our own desired goal of hope.

The farmer knows that his crop will not immediately be harvested when the seed is first planted. He knows there is much work, hardship and adversity along the way. He knows also, that if the job is well done, that according to God’s natural laws the harvest is certain. So, as Christians, the reward for our righteousness is not immediate, but through patient endurance it is ultimately sure.

Patience is not blind withdrawal in the face of circumstance. Many Christians assume it to be so. When faced with problems and adversity, with eyes and ears shut, they think they exercise patience as they withdraw from the fray.

The farmer knows that patience is a working proposition. When the cow has jumped the fence for the tenth time, he knows he must see that she is returned to the pasture in order to reap the reward of his investment. Ignoring her foolishness will not help.He knows that foolish invective, ranting and raving, and otherwise slandering her is not really going to do any good. Any Christian who has worked with an erring brother recognizes the comparison. Having rebuked and exhorted him for untold times, that weak brother kicks the fence in sin again. Is the reaction of patience to ignore the situation, to slander the weak brother, or to get out there and get him back again?

Patience implies a consistency of attitude on the part of the worker. Many Christians seem to feel that zeal and patience are contradictory. Zeal is not to be mistaken for frenzy. However, many impatient Christians have their hot and cold spells. A new preacher or new program comes along, and many of us are so excited that we can hardly restrain our enthusiasm. After a while though, that hectic enthusiasm goes away, and is replaced by idle indifference. The farmer’s fields would be awfully neglected if he depended on the attitude of some impatient brethren to tend it. the Lord needs a steady constant hand on the plow and the hoe as we do his work.

The return of the Lord is certain, though the day and hour is unknown. Will we have the patience to wait for and through the needed rains of spring and fall expecting in patient confidence to harvest as surely as we have sown?

“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 receive the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)

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