Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James tells us a bit earlier that the testing of our faith produces perseverance, or endurance. A big part of that testing is simply remaining faithful in the trial.
As someone once told me, struggling is the default or norm in which we live. That’s why it’s nice to get away from time to time on a vacation with no cares in the world. And while “there’s no place like home,” there are always concerns, sometimes big that can well weigh us down. And some of those can seem well over our head, unmanageable, and in need of divine intervention. Actually we want the Lord’s help, and need it, whether the trial seems big or small.
James’s readers were facing problems from those who were wealthy (James 5). And James in the more immediate context referred to “trials of many kinds.” What is important for us is to remain faithful, and be willing to endure. Endurance is not something in and of itself enjoyable. We would rather escape. Yes, we’re to persevere, but endurance might seem to hit James’s thought in this letter more squarely for me, though to persevere is involved in that, as well. It seems like patience, and hanging in their through the tough times with faith in God is the point here.
And we have another promise from another book of wisdom, considered the basic book of wisdom in scripture: Proverbs:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
In the midst of trials, we need to trust and obey. In submission to the One who will see us through to the end. In and through Jesus.