The Long View

William C. Brownson

READ : James 5:10-11

As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (v. 10)

We can only live with patient endurance when we take “the long view.” Sufferings may not end soon; heartbreak won’t be healed right away. The relief and encouragement we long for, the fulfillment and joy, may be a long time in coming.

So James reminds us of the example of the prophets—men like Jeremiah. They proclaimed God’s Word faithfully and suffered terribly—some of them for a lifetime. Then James mentions also Job—the classic human sufferer. Think of all he went through, and for how long!

But the end of Job’s story is wonderfully heartening. In his experience we catch a glimpse of the Lord’s gracious purpose. We learn how compassionate and merciful God is, how those who trust in him will be finally vindicated, blessed beyond measure.

We Americans tend to crave “instant gratification.” We don’t want to wait for anything or anyone. We want it all now. But the Christian way is different. It offers self-denial and suffering in fellowship with Jesus. It may bring hardship and heartbreak, delay and disappointment. But for those who endure, the future is unimaginably bright. Let’s remember to take “the long view.”

PRAYER

Gracious God, teach us to trust you in our worst times, knowing that your love will never let us go.