Suffering and Comfort

Passage for Today

James 5:7-12

7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 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.
12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.


  1. What does it mean to be truly patient?
  2. What does patience teach us?
  3. What do you learn about God's character?


By Lifeway

Unlike most people in our culture today, the early Christians likely expected Jesus to return during their lifetimes. Many believed that He could return at any moment. Today anyone predicting Jesus’ return is recognized as a false teacher (see Mark 13:32), but at the time, the disciples had seen Jesus ascend into heaven and hoped He would return soon (see Acts 1:11). In the New Testament church, waiting for the Lord’s return, at times, led to unhealthy inactivity (see 1 Thess. 4:13–5:11), and today it can lead to unhelpful speculation and preoccupation. James mentioned the Lord’s return as a means to encourage His audience to see their suffering in light of the bigger picture.
For James’s audience, the reality of Jesus’ return wasn’t a distraction that led to speculative predictions and false teachings. It was a source of comfort and hope in the midst of difficulty and suffering.

The word translated coming in our English Bibles was originally used to describe the arrival of a king. The repeated reminder to be patient was James’s pastoral way of rightly focusing the believers’ perspective on the suffering they were experiencing. The believers could patiently endure their suffering because Jesus would return as Savior and Judge.

James opened his letter with the topic of suffering, and he closed his letter with a call for patience in suffering. It’s a major theme of the book. James indirectly addressed forms of hardship in His teaching on the other topics. A right view of wealth and poverty will relieve suffering. A right view of our faith in action will relieve suffering. A right use of our speech will relieve suffering. Suffering always happens in a context, and the ultimate context is God’s sovereignty. Yet the Bible never holds or attributes suffering to God. Adopting Scripture’s perspective on suffering allows us to see it within God’s providence while also seeing sin and death as our enemies.

*  This devotion was found at titled “James: Faith/Works” by Lifeway.

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