A few summers ago, my kids helped their dad plant a garden. Among the tomato plants and varieties of lettuce (all of which they will not eat), they planted one of their favorites—a strawberry vine.
But here’s the thing about strawberry vines: they don’t produce fruit right away. Nothing in the first season. You might see fruit a year later, during the second season. And when you’re just five years old, waiting more than 20% of your lifetime for a piece of fruit you could buy at the store this afternoon—well, it seems a little crazy.
In James chapter 5, suffering is compared to planting a garden. It takes patience and endurance, and at times it seems fruitless. But the Lord has a purpose.
James 5:10-11: As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 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.
James says to take the Old Testament prophets as an example of patience in suffering. The lives of many of them, when taken at face value, look like dismal failures. Many of them were ridiculed, ostracized, or even killed. And yet, James says we consider them blessed. They had the privilege of suffering while proclaiming God’s Word and foretelling His promised Messiah. In their suffering, they put the Lord’s compassion and mercy on display.
James tells his readers they have already “seen the purpose of the Lord.” God has shown us the certainty of His compassion and mercy in our salvation. We can trust Him to bring beautiful fruit from our patient suffering.
No matter what you face this week, the Lord’s compassion and mercy are at work in your patient suffering.Share