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. (ESV)
Raise your hand if you want to be blessed! If you were to say that in any church service in America every hand would shoot right up. We love the idea of being blessed. The problem is that we are clueless as to what being blessed really means. Almost everyone who thinks of being blessed thinks of material prosperity and/or the absence of suffering.
Think of yourself for a moment. How many times have you looked at your life and said to yourself, "I am blessed."? When you thought about your blessings was there a list of things you possess that constitute being "blessed." Perhaps you thought of your job, your house, or your health. What if being blessed had nothing to do with having those things?
James says that we consider those who remained steadfast as those who are blessed. As we think of this concept of being steadfast we are given an example from the Old Testament; Job. Job lost everything! His children were killed. He lost his wealth. His wife told him he should curse God and die. What did Job do? He remained faithful to the Lord.
James gives us great insight in the last part of this verse. In the midst of Job's suffering we are able to see God's purpose and God's compassion/mercy. We think that we can find those attributes when we are being "blessed" with all kinds of material goods. Scripture invites you to see that God's purpose and compassion are evident in the midst of suffering.
Do you want to be blessed? Remain steadfast in the midst of whatever suffering that you are going through. God has a purpose, and he has compassion for you.