PATIENCE, PAIN, PERSEVERANCE, AND PRODUCTIVITY
The earth has warmed and it is time to put in the garden. We labor as we till the soil, stoop to sow, with weeding to come. Sore muscles and an aching back may attend our efforts, and for what? Nothing, then a little shoot—and more work. It is not a process that can be hastened. Yet, when in the fall, should God bless with the proper amount of sun and showers, the harvest can be gathered.
James stresses this as he speaks of the harvest and the hope we have of the final gathering of the saints in God’s granary in glory at the end of the age. Note the words, “patient,” “waits,” “waiting patiently,” “be patient,” “Establish your hearts,” “endure,” “perseverance.”
Stephen Olford made this observation:
Was it not Hudson Taylor who told a young candidate for the mission field that there were three very important lessons to learn in God's work? The first was patience; the second was patience; and the third was patience.
Paul says that tribulation works patience. This was undoubtedly true in Job's case. He certainly suffered affliction! And so did many prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Lord, if I should have to pass by way of tribulation, I do pray that I may learn the lesson of patience. (According to Your Word, p.221).
As we do Gospel work, we must be cautious not to merely seek “decisions,” though we certainly desire and pray for fruit. We may share the Gospel and there is immediate receptivity. Yet, in many instances, the labor will be long and patience is required. Some fields are more labor intensive and can test our resolve. Our job is to persevere through the pain of criticism, opposition, defection, disappointment, and so forth. Trust the Holy Spirit to do His work, as we do ours! God sent the early rain at Pentecost and there have been intermittent showers. Revelation promises the latter rain and a harvest from every nation—a great blood-washed throng!
A caution that James gives, “Do not grumble against one another.” One of the issues we find on the mission field is that the difficulties faced breed impatience not only with the results, but fellow missionaries. When we are dealing with disappointment at the lack of visible results—as Satan is fighting us tooth and claw—it is easy to be short tempered and divisive. Many missionaries walk away at this point and never return to the field.