"We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."
Charles Spurgeon began a sermon on this passage with the words, “We are far too apt to entertain hard thoughts of God."
When health trials and/or financial hardship come our way, it is hard to accept that we are blessed. We look at the wicked and see them living in good health and wealth and we wonder if God has abandoned us. Does He really care? James wrote to the persecuted Christians of his day to encourage them to stand firm in their faith and believe the best about God. That He is "full of compassion and is merciful." He pointed to the "endurance of Job", using him as an example of one who did not turn his back on God, though he lost everything but his life. Job believed in God's sovereignty and submitted to His will. He wasn't perfect and he did challenge God for an audience, for which later he repented, but after a time of suffering, Job's health and wealth were restored and He was given ten more children.
Steven Cole touches on five lessons from this verse:
1. God’s blessing is on those who endure, not on those who bail out.
2. Endurance does not imply perfection, but it does require submission.
3. The submission required for endurance is bound up with a firm belief in God’s sovereignty over all things.
4. God’s sovereignty over all things implies that He has a purpose that He is accomplishing.
5. No matter how difficult our trials, we must never doubt God’s goodness or love in His sovereign purpose.
"Read the biographies of the faithful saints in church history. If you’re currently suffering, look to the prophets and look to Job as examples of patient endurance. Trust in the compassionate and merciful Lord." (Pastor Steven Cole)
Even if our health and wealth are not restored as Job's was, God's promise that we will live with Him for eternity is irrevocable. And that is our ultimate reward.