Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
The Envy of Our Youth
Growing up, there may have been some people in your life that you kept finding yourself being just so envious of. They were the kids who didn’t have to work as hard as you did, it seemed. Maybe it was their looks, their brains, or their money. Whatever it was, they had something that made their lives seem just so easy and unattainable. But what is it we are to prize more highly: ease or endurance?
The thing about life in Jesus, though, is that it doesn’t work like that. Those we count as blessed—a far cry from the jealousy we used to fall prey to—aren’t the ones who’ve had it so easy, but those we realized have had to endure.
The Discipline of Endurance
Our writer James spends a lot of time in his letter discussing the discipline of endurance. And our need for such a topic can never really go out of style, especially not now. He calls our attention to the prophets who suffered and endured persecution. Then, he brings us back to the story of Job, the righteous man who lost everything but still believed God to be worthy of his sole devotion.
He draws us back to “the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).
Ease or Endurance?
The brothers and sisters in Scripture we count as blessed are the ones who wrestled to reconcile their faith with the hardships set before them. They’re the ones we truly, in the end, most want to be like—unlike the faithless ones who turned away from the Lord and toward easier ways of life and lesser objects of devotion.
We see through this passage that the Lord reveals a facet of His character that we can only see through the lens of our own need: His compassionate and merciful nature. Cling more closely to the cross, for the blessings He has in store can be yours no other way.
Consider the examples in your life you most want to be like. Are these individuals who are fighting to be more like Jesus? Or are they the ones that the world makes glamorous examples out of? Reflect on who you’re becoming in Jesus and whether its ease or endurance that marks your journey with the Lord.