Patience in Suffering

Jane Olson

READ : James 5:7-11
Psalm 13

As an example of suffering and patience . . . take the prophets. (v. 10)

As a young woman, my grandmother suffered from asthma so severe that she wasn't sure if she would make it past middle age. At ninety-four, my Gram has now outlived her husband, her eldest son, and many of her friends. When I asked her how she felt about living into her nineties, she said contentedly, “I'm ready to go, but willing to wait.” It is the response of a woman who has learned “suffering and patience.”

I have very little patience for suffering. When I am in pain, I want immediate relief. I cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” In these verses, James reminds us again that suffering produces spiritual endurance, and he tells us to take comfort from the many examples in God's Word of those who demonstrated patience in suffering.

Consider the trials that Job, Elijah, or Jeremiah faced. How did they endure? By focusing on the goodness of God, rather than on the temporary nature of their suffering. In the midst of their pain, they staked their lives on God's promises. And God did not abandon them.

The Bible is the testimony of God's faithfulness to his people. If God's compassion and mercy seem far away, step outside of yourself and look at the examples of those faithful men and women who have gone before you.

PRAYER

Lord, when I am in pain, help me to remember your constant love and faithfulness.