‘The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work.’ James 1:3–4 NIV
It can be really hard to be patient, especially in the middle of the pain and suffering. We begin to question God’s goodness and maybe we simply give up. Job is a great example of how we should react when we’re suffering. ‘You have heard about Job’s endurance. You saw that the Lord ended Job’s suffering because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.’ (James 5:11 GWT) Job went through nearly every type of suffering imaginable and he experienced the whole range of emotions that go with it. But, and this is the important part, he kept his faith in God and endured the process. ‘When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ (Job 23:10 NIV) Contrast this with the way the Israelites reacted when they were in the desert. For 40 years they went round in circles, complaining and drifting away from God as well as wanting to go back to their past. (Even though that past involved slavery!)
Still, this is a natural reaction.
God is calling us something higher—to persevere and endure the hard times. We can learn so much during times of suffering; it’s a process we need to go through in order to reach completion with Christ. And we need to be patient with the process, not trying to rush it or escape it but patiently enduring it. Paul said that he learnt to be content in all circumstances, good and bad, because God gave him the strength to carry on (Philippians 4:12–13). God will give you the strength to patiently work through suffering and you too ‘will come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10) if you endure the process.
SoulFood: Zech 5–8, Mark 14:12–26 Ps 34, Prov 24:29–31
word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2017