Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
During the last few days, we have covered a lot of territory concerning patience and endurance. We have seen James provide us with many good reasons why we should live a lifestyle of patience and endurance. We do it because God is patient with us; we do it because it is the example Jesus Christ set for us; we do it because we can see the example set by believers throughout history.
Now, we see yet another reason and motivation to exercise patience in our lives, even in the face of trials and adversity. God blesses those who endure these things patiently. We have seen the end of the Lord; in other words, God has a good outcome planned for those who endure patiently.
There is probably no greater story in all of Scripture about patient endurance than the story of Job in the Old Testament.
Job was tested more than any man we see in the Bible. Reading the history, we can see some of the reasons why God tested Job, and they line up quite well with some of the things James is teaching us in his Epistle.
To test Job’s faith and prove the reality of it.
To divert Satan’s evil plans.
To make Job’s faith stronger.
To bless Job.
We can see this now, but poor Job had no idea of God’s plan. He just simply endured. Job lost his family, his possessions, and his health. Job lost everything. Job may have questioned God and asked why, but he never lost his faith or love for God. What happened in the end?
Job 42:10-17 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.
Paul also recognized that those who endure patiently are the recipients of God’s favor. Does anyone recall the thorn in Paul’s side? God did not remove that thorn; Paul merely endured it, using strength provided by God to do so.
2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
In our above examples, we see a couple of different outcomes coming as a result of patience. Job, as we see, was physically and materially blessed for demonstrating patience in the Lord. It’s very important to note, however, that there is no promise of material blessings as a result of patience. God is not a cosmic candy machine who will give us stuff if we just put in the coin marked patience.
Note that Paul didn’t get anything material as a result of his patience and waiting for God. Paul got grace; Paul simply received the strength through the Holy Spirit to endure and live with his particular affliction.
The point is, God’s promises are good and they are guaranteed. If we do His work, in His way, in His time, we will be blessed. It may be now, it may be later, but He guarantees it. Are we resting in that guarantee?