One of my all-time favorite scriptures is a relatively obscure one — James 5:10-11. It reads,
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Although all of this scripture is incredible, I’m always particularly blown away by one line: “Ye . . . have seen the end of the Lord”.
When we look at the story of Job — or really the story of any prophet, for that matter — we have the blessing of being able to see their journey’s beginning and endings. The scriptures tell of us of Job’s struggles, then his exorbitant blessings. We see everything from Nephi’s exit out of Jerusalem to his peaceful death as a beloved prophet and king among his people. Glimpses into Esther’s life, too, tell us of her struggles and eventual triumph in the king’s court.
But in our own lives, it’s not so easy. When we’re going through a trial, we only see the beginning and the middle. We see the difficulties, the pain, and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Unlike the finished stories of our scriptural heroes, our own endings seem unclear and uncertain.
But as is written in James, “Behold, we count them happy which endure.” If Job hadn’t endured and remained faithful, he may not have received the rich blessings he obtained. Nephi, if he hadn’t chosen to follow the counsel of the Lord and flee out of the land and away from his brethren, might have been killed. And if Esther hadn’t stood before the king — enduring the potential of losing her own life and suffering the wrath of the king — and defended the Jewish people, they would have been destroyed.
But can you imagine how it must have been actually been for them while they were enduring it? They didn’t know what was going to happen. Just as in our lives, their endings, to them, were uncertain. Yet they endured, regardless of the outcome, because they loved the Lord.
Enduring is difficult! If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t learn anything from it. We wouldn’t grow or become more Godlike. But it’s still really hard, and requires faith — sometimes more faith than we think we possess. But if we endure, the Lord promises to bless us.
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes (D&C 121:8).
In my own life, I look back on times when I thought a trial served no purpose. As I’ve talked about before, on my mission, I suffered from more severe depression than I’d ever faced in my life. I remember thinking I would never feel okay again. In my darker moments, I wondered if my mission was pointless, if I was really doing any good. But somehow, despite the difficulty of that trial, I endured. I made it through to the other side, and now, with hindsight, I can see how my mission forever blessed and changed my life for the better. I can honestly say that the blessings that have come into my life from enduring through difficult circumstances have been innumerable.
But that’s just it — we can’t see our own end from the beginning. When I was in the middle of that trial, it seemed like it would never end and that things would never look up. But thankfully, we can look to the scriptures and see that God always comes through for His children. He always keeps His promises to us, so long as we endure and follow Him.
With everything in me, I testify that happy is the woman (or man) who endures.
Amy Carpenter is the site manager and editor for LDSBlogs.com. She served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denver, Colorado, where she learned to love mountains and despise snow. She has a passion for peanut butter, dancing badly, and most of all, the gospel.