The writer had given nearly three chapters of exhortation, dire warnings in stern language. Now he turned to encouragement, feeling certain his audience would respond to God’s call through his letter.
I doubt James intended to imply that patient forbearance will restore fortunes. Instead, the end of his letter points back to the beginning. Patient forbearance is the rich soil in which the implanted seed can bear fruit, producing an abundant harvest of godliness.
We may not be able to stop evil, harm, and pain from entering our lives. Corruption and death are still realities. But we can choose to respond in the Spirit of Christ, a supernatural response that is first the result of God’s divine work of transformation within, and is also our willingness to allow that divine work to replace the way we used to be.
When Noah awoke and learned what had happened to him, what Ham had done to him, it isn’t Ham he curses, it’s Canaan, the youngest of Ham's four sons. I missed the significance of that the first time I read through this passage. Some commentators say this is the most remarkable prophecy in all of the Bible, showing three streams of humanity and the direction they would go, thousands of years before it happened.
For the woman, the consequences would primarily affect her relationships. Interestingly, God said her pain would be increased, evidence that pain would have already existed, even in the perfection of Eden. We can learn that pain is not necessarily a bad thing, but could be a good thing, able to strengthen and deepen the man and the woman, and their relationship with each other, as well as with God. But now, that pain would be greatly increased.