The Autumn rain and the Spring rain
James 5:7 (ESV) Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
(For the American readers – the season I call “Autumn” is the same as your “fall”)
2 messages, 2 rains
Let me get all charismatic on you and declare “I LOVE THE LORD” and how he sends me the same message over and over again because sometimes I can be a knucklehead and not quite get it the first time. The message that I have had confirmed was regarding the term “latter rain”.
I am a city guy and I will be honest with you, despite me questioning God why I am here, I have learned a lot in my time in California. Coming from the biggest city in Scotland called Glasgow I had very little experience with farming, in fact in my whole experience mixing with folks in my little commuter town for the big city I only know one family who was agricultural. (They were dairy farmers) I didn’t think much about where crops, fruit and vegetables came from, I just bought what I needed when I needed, I did not notice prices and had no idea how that area of life worked.
On Sunday I attended a fellowship in the South Valley in a city called Porterville, California. As you drive into Porterville you will see Orange Groves, Wine Vineyards, Nut orchards and various fruit and vegetables growing in the vast abundance of fields in that area, it is fair to say, these people know agriculture. The pastor gave an illustration based on “the former rain and latter rain” based on the passage in Isaiah that he was teaching, I thought it was a great illustration based on who a large percentage of his audience was. I didn’t think much of it, until Monday evening.
On Monday I went to a church in Hanford for a men’s event called “Meat on Monday’s” Hanford is a different type of agriculture as you drive into that city, you smell the unmistakable smell of dairy farming and the fun smell of cows rear ends. (Much like the first time I drove into Tulare also) and the Pastor who taught (ironically teaches at the Tulare church) again talked about this latter rain.
Which rain are you under?
He taught on the above verse and I thought it was ideal to reprise on this blog, (This is not one I came up with myself and this was taught by a chap called Pastor Jake) I tried to take notes as quickly as I could on my iPhone. But the main points were about the following
Being patient in our TEMPTATIONS – Tests approve us to be ministers of God, be in contrast to what the world does, God does not tempt us but may allow us to be tempted in order to have lives of integrity and character.
Being patient with other BELIEVERS – I know that I have ticked many people off in my life, gave Paul as an example, how he loved in spite of all the wicked things that were said about him. How he chose to minister and admonish the ones who spoke evil of him.
Being patient in our PERSECUTIONS – We have to look at our heritage (Hebrews 11:33-38) and take courage and strength from those who have gone on before us. Take an example from the prophets and how they ended up, but still strived on for the LORD.
Being patient in our CIRCUMSTANCES – We have to endure like Job, yes, he wrestled with his trials, but I know that searching within my heart. I would be wrestling under much less strain. It is hard when you see your material wealth go, but it is heard to say it is all temporary.
In this I learned that in order to mature, the crops need both the former rain and the latter rain, they need the former rain to grow from a seedling into the plant that they were created to be, they need to be allowed to be nurtured, to be pruned, to be allowed to grow and then along comes the latter rain, which allows them to mature and allows them to become ripe for picking.
Much is the same with the Christian life, we could all do with a little more “latter rain:” I know I am not going to be fully done with learning until I am done perfecting (when I draw my last breath) but one thing is for sure, the LORD of the harvest knows what we need in order to mature.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing, please comment or share as the LORD leads