I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about a verse toward the end of the book of James. Consider three versions of this verse.
- NASB – “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.”
- NIV – “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
- NLT – “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”
We tend to count as blessed those who don’t have any suffering, not those who endure it. While we are not sure of all the purposes involved in Job’s suffering, (despite the efforts of his three “friends” to explain it), James 5:11 points to one encouraging outcome.
- You have seen what the Lord finally brought about.
- You have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings,
- You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end
What was the outcome?
Job’s endurance under suffering ultimately displayed the kind of God He served, One who is “full of compassion and merciful.”
God’s compassion and mercy is recorded at the end of the book of Job in multiplied blessing.
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part” (Job 42:10-12).
“Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years” (Job 42:16-17).
Sometimes we are not sure of all the purposes involved in our suffering. I am encouraged by the hopeful outcome revealing the God who is “full of compassion and merciful.”
Perhaps we have some “friends” like Job who think they know better, and think they understand God’s purposes. It’s notable that God sent Job’s friends to him for intercessory prayer. They needed Job’s prayers. God twice said to them, “I am angry with you … because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” “My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” (Job 42:7-8).
I pray for those who are suffering to stay strong and hopeful that the outcome will be a revelation of the God who is “full of compassion and merciful” and in multiplied blessing.