Scripture Reading: James 5:7-11
“11 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.”
(James 5:11, NIV)
Just before 5 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in 2015, the last participant to finish the Boston Marathon that year crossed the finish line.
He may have finished last, but he was considered a winner.
That man was Maickel Melamed, a motivational speaker from Venezuela with muscular dystrophy. The disease may have caused him to suffer muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass, but the then 39-year-old persevered 26.2 miles, step-by-step, to the finish line. It took him nearly 20 hours, with torrential rain falling near the end of his journey, but he endured to the end and was awarded his medal.
The Bible reminds us often to persevere, to face adversity and remain strong, seeing the struggle through to the end. Some parts of the journey are more difficult than others. In the book of James, James reminded the believers of the suffering of Job, and how God restored to him double the amount of what he lost.
Job suffered deeply, yet God had not forsaken him. He may not have been able to imagine that God would show him compassion and mercy while he was in the thick of his struggle, but he persevered.
James writes in these verses that those who persevere are “blessed.” At the end of his race, Melamed received his medal. At the end of Job’s suffering, he received back double. At the end of our struggles, what will we receive? Earlier in James, the Bible says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Though it may be hard for us to understand, blessing comes when we persevere through suffering. We may or may not see that blessing here on earth, but whether or not we do, a great reward awaits us in heaven.
Today’s Thoughts: Have you ever considered yourself blessed when you faced a difficult trial? Why do you think James says we’re blessed if we persevere? What does that mean for you in your current circumstances? How do you plan to persevere?