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James 5:11

ESV Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
NIV 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.
NASB We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
CSB See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about--the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
NLT We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
KJV Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

What does James 5:11 mean?

James continues to urge his oppressed Christian readers to remain faithful to God. He calls on persecuted believers to trust Him in their suffering as they wait for the day of the Lord. In the previous verse, he encouraged them to follow the example of the Old Testament prophets who remained faithful to deliver God's message through the difficult circumstances of their own lives.

The goal of worldliness is to avoid suffering. It's the quest to get everything you want in life, no matter what it costs, no matter who it hurts. James makes it clear that the goal for Christians is different. We consider faithfulness to God despite suffering a mark of success. James uses the Greek word makarizomen, which literally means "to count as blessed, or happy, or successful." This praise is given to those who continue to demonstrate their trust in God by obedience and service to others.

Now James points to another example of this kind of faithfulness-despite-suffering. Some would say this is, in fact, the ultimate example. This story is told in the book of Job. Job was a man who endured enormous suffering while refusing to renounce his faith in God. In the end, God rewarded him by restoring all he had lost and giving him much, much more. Suffering Christians in every era should follow Job's example of faithfulness to God in their physical and emotional suffering, and every believer in Jesus should also expect, ultimately, to receive from God far more than we have ever lost.

The verse ends with a declaration about God's character: He is full of compassion, and He is merciful. God's character doesn't change. God's goodness is not greater when our circumstances are better, and lesser when we are suffering. He always has compassion for His people in our suffering, and He is always merciful to those in Christ, now and forever.

We must remind ourselves of that truth when the suffering becomes long and difficult to bear.
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