Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7)

In the area where James’ readers lived there were two seasons of rain; early in the spring that softened the ground and the second season of rain later in the year that caused the crops to grow and flourish. What if we thought of the coming of joy that way too, beloved reader. Our first coming to faith that tenderized our heart and spirit so that we were receptive to the message of salvation and redemption, accepting the in-dwelling of the Spirit. And then later in our faith lives when we realize the fuller blessings of the Lord.

I misplaced something a day ago and was looking for it this morning (or at least when I wrote this). By retracing my steps I found what I thought was lost; that is the second time in the past few days when I found something important to me that had been temporarily misplaced. That was, in a sense, my “early rain”. (Bear with me – this gets better.) Because I was so joyful, I decided to dedicate this day to the Lord and allow the Lord to lead me trusting in the Divine. Well, the day took an unexpected disastrous turn, and it took all I had and total reliance on the Divine to get me through the day. At every turn of the day the unexpected and unforeseen happened, but through the Divine’s grace and power I made it through the day. That was my “second rain.”

“You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” (Verse 8)

But the writer of the epistle of James is talking about the coming again of the Lord God (the first being Jesus and/or the coming of the Holy Spirit). That is what he is telling his reader to be patient for. And while they are being patient, he speaks to how they should conduct their lives.

“Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” (Verses 9 – 10)

I have said the same sort thing recently, that the major and minor prophets waited beyond their lifetimes for the fulfillment of their prophecies. Moreover, (as I have said previously) the called and chosen people waited through Abraham begetting Isaac, then through to Joseph and Egypt, back to Canaan, through the kings and all of the occupations of Israel and Judah, and down to the occupation by Roman. What if all that waiting, being patient, hoping, and learning to a peace was their “first rain”, and then Jesus was the “second rain”? It does not fall in line with that the writer of the epistle of James said; but then we are STILL waiting for the “second rain” as he describes it. Remember that the called and chosen people of God went astray in a variety of ways while waiting. And when Jesus came, they did not see the Messiah as the coming of their “joy.”

We could hold to what the writer of the epistle of James says, and assume that “the coming of the Lord is near”. But if we put our lives on hold, what blessings and joys might we miss out on that the Divine has already placed on our path? What if I had ‘just’ congratulated myself on finding the lost items, and not given over the day to the Divine? I, beloved reader, shudder to think about it!

This third week of Advent has the theme of joy. We are coming closer to the nativity event, when the joy of Advent and Christmas is fulfilled. First rain maybe? But we also need to think about the time beyond that. And to continue to live in joy.

May the Lord God, beloved reader, send you “second rain” so that all of the days to come are lived in joy! Selah!