BLESSED are those who ENDURE & PERSEVERE
December 18 Bible Reading: James Chapters 4-5
"My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." (James 5:10-11)
In the above passage, Apostle James brings before us another perspective of God, who in His infinite wisdom allowed His own prophets to suffer in the hands of the sinful people among whom they were ministering. Because of their faithfulness in declaring the word of the Lord, these prophets were persecuted unmercifully. Yet “they endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27, 32–40). The prophet Jeremiah is a prime example of this, and when we read the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, we can see how much Jeremiah suffered for being true to God in declaring His oracles!
All these prophets are examples of patient endurance in suffering for us (see 1:4), and we need to follow their footsteps today. We honor them for their lives of zeal and devotion. In this sense we call them blessed, and we agree that they were right while the world was wrong. Let us not forget that even though they went through great trials and sufferings, they endured them all with patience. If we want to be blessed, it is only reasonable to conclude that we will be called upon to do the same!
In the similar manner, the righteous Job (Job 1:1) also went through intense personal suffering not knowing that he was allowed to be tested by Satan in order to justify God’s faith in his integrity.
Even though Job was not always patient with his friends (who acted as miserable comforters), we are certain that Job persevered through his suffering until the very end. Job waited for God to clear up the mystery of his suffering, and as a result, reaped great rewards at the end of his trial.
We should have no doubts that our God is very compassionate and merciful (v. 11b). However, He allows sufferings for a reason: “tribulation produces perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). The sufferings of Job enabled him to persevere, which led him to see the final rewards that God had intended for him after He revealed Himself. For Job, the end intended by God was that he received twice the blessings that he had before his trials (Job 42:10–15). Only by Job’s suffering could he intimately experience and comprehend the Lord as compassionate and merciful. Thus, Job is thus a fine example of perseverance or fortitude that we can emulate in our lives.
The challenges and crisis that we encounter regularly can seep away our joy and strength, and at these times we are tempted to give up. If we are not aware of what God has planned to accomplish through us, we might be tempted to envy the wicked like Asaph. However, it was only after Asaph had gone into the sanctuary of God that he understood their end (see Psalms 73:3–17). King David also had a similar experience, but he looked to the future and consoled himself with these words: "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness" (Psalms 17:15).
Let us remember that God permits suffering in our lives because it leads to His excellent purposes (Rom 8:28; Phil 1:6). If we are going through sufferings, let us be patient for God is still on His throne. Blessed are those who endure and persevere!