"You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."—James 5:11 (NKJV)
Although this passage uses the word “perseverance” to describe Job’s defining characteristic, the essence of resilience is clearly represented here. In the original Greek text, it’s the word hupomone; which is a compound word meaning “to bear (hupo) under (mone).”
If you’ve ever watched a video of various objects being placed in a hydraulic press, you understand the meaning of this word. You also understand that different objects handle pressure differently. A birthday cake and an anvil are going to fare differently when pressed. When something is strong enough to withstand the force of the press, it’s a picture of hupomone; that object can hold (or bear) its form under the weight exerted upon it.
What an appropriate parallel to Job, who was subjected to a weight of suffering that few can even imagine. We know his story…his children, his livelihood, his health…and how the crushing pressure of their loss bore down on him. But Job wasn’t crushed. He held his form under the pressure of it all. He was the anvil that went into the press and won. His resilience was epic, even by biblical standards!
As kingdom people, the resilience of Job is something we’re instinctively drawn to and desire, ourselves. Why? Because we understand life gets heavy, it’s filled with pressures and weights capable of crushing us. We also understand we can’t change this aspect of life…it’s inevitable. We can, however, determine what we’re made of.
The resilience that characterized Job can also characterize us. How? When we rewind Job’s life, we see the source of his resilience;
"There was a man…whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil…seven sons and three daughters were born to him…he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all . . . Thus Job did regularly."—Job 1:1–5 (NKJV)
Before the pressure was applied to Job’s life, he was a man who prioritized the things of God. Despite being extremely wealthy in the world’s eyes, he was laser-focused on the Lord. Everything revolved around an ever-present awareness of his place before the Almighty. We might say that he was a “Matthew 6:33 Man,” in the sense that he sought God’s Kingdom and His righteousness in every way. There was a living connection between Job and God. This is who he was before the pressure was applied, and it made all the difference once it was.
Incredibly, the same resilience is available to us because its source is equally available to us. Resilience comes through an abiding relationship with the Eternally All-Powerful One, who sacrificed Himself to make such a connection possible. In keeping this our greatest priority in life, we will be able to bear under whatever pressures we encounter in life…not according to our strength, but according to His strength in us!
PAUSE: What was the key to Job’s resilience?
PRACTICE: How can we be characterized by the resilience that characterized Job?
PRAY: Father God, shows us how we can better prioritize our connection with You, and enable us to follow through on those changes.