Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“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.” (James 5: 7-8)
The climate in Israel is quite different from that we experience in the midwestern portion of the United States. There, rains are virtually non-existent during the summer months, May through October. But rain, the early rain begins in late October, is usually fairly consistent through November and December and then is sporadic through the primary growing season culminating with the harvest in April. The rains that occur during the fall provide the moisture necessary to germinate the seed and the spring, or the latter rains, are those necessary to complete the growth and for ripening of the crops. Failure for either of these rains to occur are devastating to the crops and to the livelihoods of all in the region.
Few would claim that we are in the best of times in our country. Rather, there is a general spirit of doom looming over us. Economic pressures, social upheavals, fear from inside and out, mistrust of leadership, pandemics, terrorist acts, and environmental changes threaten our lives and livelihoods. These amount to a dry season akin to that of the arid summers of Israel. For sure, the problems we face will not be resolved within a few months. A couple months of rain are not going to suddenly make all things right. This because the dry spell we are in is a spiritual drought rather than meteorological.
In the passage from James, he speaks of the necessity that we wait upon the Lord and believe His promise to return, likening it to the seasons of the earth. Indeed, many are watching and listening to the signs and believe that the time of His return in imminent. Others, cling to Jesus’ statements that we will not know the day or the hour, but that He will come when we are busily going about our daily living. (Mt. 24: 36-44) Others dismiss such concerns altogether believing that mankind will either blow up the world in a nuclear conflagration or totally destroy the climate making earth unable to continue to sustain life.
But for those who believe the word of God, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; that He is life, and He is truth, we have accepted as fact that there is an approaching end to this world followed by eternal life in heaven, the new heaven and new earth. And if we believe this, then we must also believe that we are not given to know in advance the day nor the hour of His return. However, one thing we do know, that day is closer today than it was yesterday; and the Lord calls us to prepare ourselves as if He was coming tomorrow.
It may appear to us that we have entered that spiritual dry season which will only culminate with His return. Yet the world has faced many such droughts in its history. Either way, the call is the same, be prepared. Return to the Lord; beg his forgiveness for failing to fully trust Him. Strive for holiness in your life, and wait patiently for Him. The latter rains testify to the spiritual blessings promised to all who believe in God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (PS 30:4-5)
Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” The latter rains are coming.