James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord — that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
During the Biblical festival of Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read. It’s a powerful story of faith, restoration and redemption. The book opens with a famine in all the land surrounding Bethlehem, forcing a difficult decision upon Naomi’s husband, Elimelech. Now, Bethlehem (beth: “house”, lechem: “bread”) literally means “house of bread”, so the irony of Elimelech’s departure from his home, “house of bread”, during a famine, is lost on English speaking readers, but reveals that every detail in the word of God can be meaningful, especially the meanings of names.
Now the name “Elimelech” literally means, “My God is King” — so immediately, another irony appears: a man whose name expresses the personal testimony of God’s authority over every circumstance and His complete trustworthiness, decides to leave the Promised Land, and settle in Moab, across the Jordan — a land that had become alien territory for the Israelites because of the Moabites’ inhospitable treatment of Israel during the sojourn from Egypt.
Our world today is experiencing famine in various places. Yet famine has many faces, and the various trials and afflictions in our lives can have the same frightening effect of testing our faith. Many of us are being severely tested these days with trials that are shaking us to the core. We have these two paths before us. We can endure to trust God and his Word or we can follow after the world.