Patience and Hope

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– James 5:11

The end, or purpose, of the Lord for his people is full of pity and tenderness.

When we feel deeply afflicted, it is hard for us to believe that God is tenderly involved in our lives. We feel as though perhaps God has forsaken us, or—worse still—is punishing us for some mistake we have made.

Job, as he was enduring the pain and sorrow of his lengthy ordeal, felt as if he had been utterly forsaken by God. Yet by faith he trusted in God, saying, “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10). He relied on God’s good purposes, in the midst of personal pain and loss and anguish.

This is a difficult exercise, because it means living entirely by faith, regardless of our present circumstances. It means trusting God and patiently waiting for him to fulfill his perfect and merciful purposes for us. It means tenaciously holding to a heavenly and eternal perspective, rather than seeking pleasure and fulfillment here and now.

But the example of Job should remind us that even when grief or turmoil hide the face of God from us, he is still working tenderly toward our sanctification and glory.

For this reason, James declares, we count them happy which endure. Those who steadfastly endure the trials God sends their way are, in the end, the most blessed people on earth. Their lives have brought glory to God, their testimony has pointed to eternity, and their faithfulness has reminded us of God’s goodness.