Monday, October 10, 2016

Devotional: A Purpose for Suffering #6

James 5:11 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. (KJV)

I struggled with this verse a bit. I wondered how is it that those who endure great hardship are counted as happy? Hardships and trials are not fun. I've got my share of them. Can I be counted happy that I have these things to deal with? What about you?

As I was doing the study on this verse, I came upon a bit of interesting information in Albert Barnes' New Testament Commentary. He says that the Greek word rendered "we count them happy" occurs only twice in the Bible. Here and in Luke 1:48 where it is rendered "shall call me blessed". The other Greek word that is rendered "blessed or happy", however, occurs often. See Matthew 5:3-11 for an example.
"The sense here is, we speak of their patience with commendation. They have
done what they ought to do, and their name is honoured and blessed."

This makes a lot more sense now. Those who suffer through trials and endure it with patience are to be commended, honored, and blessed by others for how they have endured. This makes me ask myself this question: How do I endure my trials? Do I endure them with patience? Do I grumble and complain? Do I take it with grace and lean on my Savior's strength to help me through them? What kind of example do I give to those who watch?

Albert Barnes says,
"The book of Job was written, among other reasons, to show that true religion
would bear any form of trial to which it could be subjected. See Job 1:9-11; Job
2:5-6. "

The phrase, "have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" talks about what God's intended purpose is. His intended purpose is to be compassionate and merciful toward us in the end. As we trust His purposes in our lives, we will experience His compassion and mercy. Now with Job, He restored everything he had and more. God may not choose to do that with us here on earth like he did with Job, but we can be assured that one day when we reach heaven, He will restore everything and more to us.

In the mean time, we often do experience His compassion and mercy in our trials. It may be a kindness done for us by a friend, or a medical bill that we thought would be very large that turned out to be a lot less. It could be the sunshine coming through the window to warm sore neck and shoulders. If we look for it, we can find His compassion and mercy daily in our trials and we have much to be thankful for.

1 comment:

Homeschool Mom of Four said...

Marsha, you never fail to inspire me. Last night during a much too tired pity party for one I was thinking "how many times do I have to endure this trial?"

I have moved 8 times in my 13 years of marriage. Some time it was for the good and some for the bad.

Your post today was just what I needed. Thanks for your insights and your thoughtfulness. You are truly a scholar of the Bible!

Take care,