James 5:10-11 (NLT)
For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 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.
We all grew up playing Simon Says, right? The one in charge does all kinds of moves and you have to follow along, but only if they actually utter those famous words, “Simon says.” In much the same sense, James is calling on us to follow the lead of the prophets of old, and names Job as a prime example. In fact, James is not the only New Testament writer that reminds us to look to the past for guidance and encouragement:
In Romans 15:4 Paul writes, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
In 1 Corinthians 10:10, regarding Israel’s time in the desert, he adds, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
We do well to remember that God has put the Scriptures together for a purpose, one of them being to show us the way through this life! Like the Apostle James, I urge you to take the time to read the stories of the Old Testament like Elijah, Jeremiah, Job, and the Psalms of David. Additionally, read about more modern followers like Hudson Taylor and Lottie Moon. Our sufferings and trials are nothing new, and the way through can be found by studying the lives of those followers who came before us and by God’s grace, tenderness, and mercy…were able to make it through.