Have you heard people praise the patience of Job, wishing they had what he evidently had? We really don’t want to endure the hardship that came upon Job, but we pretty much know we need to be more patient with the people and inconveniences in our lives, right?
Jms. 5:11 “As you know, we consider 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.”
Recently I read an article entitled “I Wonder If Sunday School is Ruining Our Kids.” It was written by one who loves the gospel of grace. His point was that we teach about the Old Testament heroes as though they were victorious because they somehow mustered up some amazing faith when in reality they were flawed beings whom God showcased to demonstrate his grace, which empowered them to come through in his name!
We hear of the “patience of Job” and conclude, “that’s what I need, patience like Job.” For awhile Job was, indeed, able to summon patience in his suffering but eventually he gave way to whining, complaining and demanding that God give him audience so he could justify himself!
God lifts up Job in the scriptures as an example, not because he possessed such a reservoir of patience within his character, but because of the grace God poured out on Job, empowering him to persevere. The perseverance James speaks of in this verse was a supernatural gift from Almighty God. It came forth to Job because “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” If he weren’t, he would have struck Job with that proverbial lightning bolt.
The perseverance, the active patience I outlined in a recent blog, are not qualities we can summon from within ourselves. They are gifts from our compassionate, merciful God. He hands us a difficult assignment with a multitude of purposes in his inscrutable mind. One of those purposes is that we will avail ourselves of the grace he offers and seek the patience, the perseverance he will work within us so we can experience the suffering, whatever its degree, refusing to let it pull us away from him.