Okay, I admit it. I’m a city boy, and what’s worse, I’m a city boy with a brown thumb.
So, Biblical references that require some agricultural knowledge mean that I have to do a little research to draw the right conclusion. But I did think I could guess right at the reference in James 5:7 to “autumn and spring rains”. April showers bring May flowers and harvest time comes in the autumn. Those were my points of reference. But then I realized that in this passage the order was autumn rains first – followed by spring rains. That seemed backward until I looked it up.
Surprise, Surprise! In the country of Israel summer is a time of arid heat and it’s the autumn rains that break up the soil and begin the planting season – with harvest coming in the spring! At least that’s what Google said.
So I was excited to return to James 5:7, 8 with this understanding and read:
“Be patient then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”(NIV)
I’m encouraged and excited by this passage. It feels like our ME team and those we work closely with-in Europe have come through a long hot summer, and now the autumn rains are starting. Patience and a good measure of sowing seed on the parched ground has led to the autumn rains that are breaking up the soil and allowing the seeds to take root. And in God’s harvest cycle the spring rains will come and the fruit will spring forth.
In fact the first fruits of the harvest are already appearing. You can taste them at the Wisdom Café on the Riviera or at the monthly Bible studies in Berlin or among the on-going and new initiatives in Ireland and yes even in Momentum Europe’s relatively new field in Belgium.
We’ve got to believe that spiritual awakening in Europe – that process of the gospel taking root and bearing fruit – is just another of the many precursors of the Lord’s coming. Let’s be patient. Let’s stand firm. Let’s be encouraged that God’s time has come for Europe!