It's often difficult to understand the reasons behind suffering and trials we have in this world. How should we process our suffering during these difficult times? Joseph's life story is one of great suffering and trials, but also one of great sovereignty under the faithful, loving, guiding hand of God. In the midst of our struggles, we should be rooted in the understanding that God is in control and sovereign over these situations. He is working for our good and for His glory.
When our world is shattered, how do we pick up the pieces and get back to normal? When we’ve lost something and are grieving, our capacity for restoration depends on finding God’s mercies in the dark times. We have to face grief square in the face and invite God into that darkness if we are going to be able to find the dawn again.
Grief is messy and leads us through a painful journey. The way out of the darkness is often found through the faithful love of someone in our lives who walks with us towards the dawn. In Ruth’s story, that kind of love is called "Hesed". It means loving selflessness, enduring faithfulness, and forbearing graciousness. God provides hesed love for Ruth in the story, and He offers it to all of us too. But here's where it gets real: Hesed is not just the kind of love God extends to us, it is also the kind of love God calls us to extend to one another. We incarnate hesed for one another, because Jesus incarnated hesed for us.
What does spirit inspired patience look like during times of suffering? James provides us with three examples in this passage. In times of trouble, the people of God are not to be idle, but to speak truth and seek justice while we wait for the Lord to move and work according to His will. Patient endurance will sustain itself when rested on the conviction that times of trouble are not random, but that God has some purpose behind them.