Scripture Reading: James 5:7-11
Behold, we count them happy which endure. James 5:11
The acid test of a true disciple of the Lord is to be able to endure with Christian grace any and all affliction and "evil treatment" that may be his portion. We must learn in this world of sin to expect tribulation and with God's strength to endure it not only patiently, but triumphantly. The great men of Scripture, including Job and the Prophets, despite the fact that they were in the center of God's will, had difficulties as they traveled the pathway of duty. Often they had to go forward alone, suffering dire and unjust persecution. How can we, therefore, expect to escape trouble if we would do His bidding? Yet God encourages us by promising glory and reward for those who stand firm and hold the fort in the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil!
It is said that when one crosses the higher Alps, oftentimes it has to be along narrow ledges only broad enough for a mule to get a foothold. These ribbons of rock on the edge of the towering mountains skirt dreadful precipices that descend thousands of feet to the valley below. The safest way for a traveler is not to attempt to guide the course of his mule, nor even grasp the bridle, for the slightest touch may easily throw both the mule and the rider over the cliff to death and destruction below. So, too, as Guthrie says, "There are times and circumstances in the believer's life when, if he would keep himself from sinful doubts, if he would keep himself from falling into despair, he must, as it were, shut his eyes, lay the bridle on the neck of Providence, commit his way to God, and however things may look, make this his comfort, 'He will never leave me, nor forsake me.' In such circumstances the only thing is to trust in God; 'walk by faith, and not by sight.'"
To those who thus endure, there is a reward. Of him the Psalmist says, "Blessed (happy) is the man whom thou chasteneth, O Lord" (Ps. 94:12a).
Great Shepherd! Firmly grasp my hand
And lead me while I go,
For thou hast said thy purpose grand,
Which yet I do not understand,
Hereafter I shall know!
"Child, thou art come into the world to suffer; endure, and hold thy peace!"