Escalon Covenant Church
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
Most of us
in the U.S. have never experienced suffering the way many of our brothers and
sisters around the world have. When
someone makes fun of us for being a Christian or challenges our beliefs, we are
tempted to throw in the towel. This is
how most us of suffer. Additionally, it
would be unwise for us to compare our suffering with the rest of the world as a
way to beat ourselves up too much.
emotional trauma of being rejected for your Scriptural beliefs carries real
pain. To those experiencing this, James
tell us in chapter five verses ten and eleven:
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the
face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 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.
speaks of exhibiting “patience” through suffering. This word is that Greek word meaning,
literally, long-suffering. It refers to
our ability to suffering for a long period of time. James’ reference to the prophets includes
those like Isaiah and Jeremiah (two of the prophets most of us are most
familiar). Even a quick read of their
prophecies reveal a lifetime of speaking on the Lord’s behalf only to be
we look back on those great examples of faith and like James says, we called
them blessed. We look at them and marvel
at their faith. We must recognize that
we are capable of demonstrating that same faith. We look back on Job and in our contemporary
colloquialisms refer to the “patience of Job”.
In reality, Job wasn’t all that patient and yet he persevered under
incredibly difficult circumstances.
words surely we hear the words of His half-brother, Jesus, when He taught, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and
falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,
because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the
prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
So even in
the midst of emotional trials—or even physical abuse for our faith—may we
remember our status as blessed in the eyes of God and others. I leave you with the words of Paul in Romans
5:1-5 from The Message:
By entering through
faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make
us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.
And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same
moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves
standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of
God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There’s more to come: We
continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because
we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that
patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for
whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left
feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to
hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!