I blogged about endurance and James 5 a couple of weeks ago, and there is another part to James 5:11 that I left out of the other post. It is actually the first half of the verse. I decided to break it up because I didn’t want the post to get too long.
The first part of James 5:11 says, “See, we count as blessed those who have endured.” If you dig a little deeper into the verse you find that the word blessed is actually the same original word that Luke uses in Luke 1:48 when Mary is speaking about being chosen to give birth to the Messiah. She finds out, then goes to see Elizabeth, and after some confirmation from Elizabeth says this sort of song of praise recorded in Luke 1:46-55. In verse 48 Mary says that all generations will call her blessed.
Can you imagine the joy and excitement Mary must have felt? How great would it have been? The same word used to describe the way she felt about being God’s chosen instrument and having the great privelege of being part of bringing the Messiah into the world is also used by James about those who endure. Those who endure are blessed greatly because of it. It doesn’t make enduring fun or easy, but it seems like a great joy to get to endure. The real joy (as opposed to momentary happiness) that comes from it is indescribable, and there is no shortcut to it.
That is obviously the kind of blessedness we want to experience. We all do. So it seems the proper response to times of struggle and trial is not so much to ask to be delievered from it, but to thank God for it and ask for his grace and strength to endure in the midst of it.