God would begin with the spiritual leaders of the people, first purifying them, then refining them. Their public sanctification would necessarily involve intense suffering, for the heat of the refiner’s fire would bring all the impurities to the surface, where they would be seen and removed.
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.