"As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." NIV translation
James reminds us of the example of Job in the Old Testament. He was a man who had everything but lost it. He held onto God even in the deepest of valleys and in the end God gave him more than he had before. God cares about each and every one of us and the situations we are in. He is not some dictator sitting back just waiting for us to mess up so that He can beat us down. He feels the heartache that we have but He also knows that the struggles serve to grow us closer to Him. For more the role of trials in our Christian walk, you can check out our study of Nehemiah 3.
"Above all, my brothers, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No,' no, or you will be condemned." NIV translation
James reminds us here again that we are not to brag because that is a sign of arrogance. We do not own anything or control anything and therefore we do not have the right to swear by anything.
"Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." NIV translation
James begins the closing of his letter by reminding us of the basics of our faith. If we need help, we can turn to the Creator of the universe who owns everything and sustains everything. He can handle anything we face. We are also to remember to praise God with song. God, our Father, wants to be an active part of our lives and these things are just a natural part of that relationship.
"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord." NIV translation
Got sickness? James reminds us of God's prescription for healing. There are many who have said that they have done this and not been healed. They ask why and the sad fact of the matter is that many who are "elders" are not qualified to be so. The apostle Peter explained how and why people are called to be elders (in 1 Peter 5:1-4). In Matthew 17:14-21, we see where some of Jesus' disciples could not do this and we see Jesus' answer when they asked why they could not. The simple fact of the matter is that God's Word says that elders can and should do this so, if they cannot, they are not empowered for the office and need to seek God's face for answers.