We count those blessed who endured You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.James 5:11(NASB)
The apostle James touches on many issues that affected persecuted Christians in the early church. Topics in James relate to the unity in the Body of Christ as well as faith, wisdom, conflict, justice and prayer.
But one issue that seems to thread its way throughout his epistle, and which is equally relevant for Christians today, touches on the need for unquestioning, patient-endurance, during difficult trials and tribulations.
The apostle used Job as the ultimate example of endurance in the midst of extreme pressure.. and steadfast patience in times of deep distress, in order to remind us that the Lord has promised to be with us in every difficulty and danger of life.. and that His grace is sufficient for us, no matter what problematic or painful circumstances we may be called upon to face in this life.
You have heard of the endurance of Job, he writes, before reminding us that all things work together for good, for those that love God and are fitting into His plan. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings in his life.. that the Lord is full of compassion and is most merciful.
Satan was permitted by God to deal harshly with God's servant Job, as a test of his faithfulness. Job's servants were slaughtered, his livestock stolen, his ten children were all killed in a terrible earthquake. His great wealth was utterly destroyed in a moment of time and Job himself was struck down with the most terrible bodily sores, without even knowing why this was happening to him. And yet, through it all, Job's faith in God did not fail. And as we are told.. at the end of his ordeal, Job was brought by God into a deeper, spiritual and more beautiful understanding of God's goodness and grace, than ever before.
James was trying to explain why we all should count it great joy when we fall into various trials and tribulations.. knowing that the testing of our faith works patience, which is an important attribute in the maturing Christian, who is growing in grace and being conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus, Himself.
James both started his epistle and ended his text with the same important message - We count those blessed who endure. Those that patiently endure the difficulties and hardships of life.. are considered to be truly happy, blessed and enriched in their spiritual growth and understanding.
Although we may have yet to endure some shocking pain and persecution in the future, and although we may never understand the reason for the terrible circumstances we have already faced - we have an assurance that we will draw into closer communion with our heavenly Father.. as we trust in Him and patiently endure. Not only will we receive Christ's sufficient grace to endure, but we will also enjoy eternal benefits that can only be considered priceless.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many lessons that we can learn from Your word. Thank You for the example of Job.. and other men and women of faith who patiently endured in times of deep trouble. May I be one that stands firm in my faith and endures to the end in these evil times.. for Your praise and glory - for You are a God of compassion and mercy, Whose love endures from one generation to another. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.