As I have been reading and studying the stories of Ruth and Esther in the Bible, I am reminded of the fact that God is ALWAYS there. He is always with us, always going before us, and always working behind-the-scenes to ensure His will is done. His sovereignty and providence is overwhelming when we can look back on our lives and see how He so carefully orchestrated each and every one of our steps. There is such peace in knowing He is with us and for us; there is such a sense of protection and safety. The knowledge that He is alive and working gives us hope.

  • “No matter how bad a circumstance may feel, we need not despair if we are children of God. He has promised that He will be with us, and He is our hope. {May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13} If you are in a season of loss, ask God to help you experience His nearness and care even in the midst of struggle and pain.”

Our recent speaker, Annie Downs, encouraged us to read the stories of the Bible with a new perspective. She reminded us that we have the luxury of reading the stories in the Bible from beginning to end; therefore, we are able to see the entire picture. We can go back and identify where God was moving to work everything for good. She encouraged us to read the stories as if we didn’t know the end. To try to picture how the people in the Bible felt as they walked through their journey of life. This strategy brings the Bible to life in that it is a way we can easily relate our lives to the people in the Bible.

Try doing this exercise with the story of Ruth. Her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law are killed. She is left in a foreign land with her mother-in-law (Naomi) and sister-in-law (Orpah). Can you imagine the heart-break? Some of you can relate to this type of pain. The pain of losing a loved one, and not just one, but three has to be one of the hardest things one could go through while on this earth. Can you imagine how Naomi felt? Her husband and both of her boys no longer with her. I like how Naomi did not try to hide her pain. As she returned to her homeland, she tells the people to call her Mara, meaning bitter. She has experienced great loss.

  • “Even when we experience times of affliction, we do not have to grieve like those who have no hope— focus on Him and be open to His peace which surpasses all understanding. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. As we ABIDE in Him, He will lovingly lift us. He is the Giver of lasting peace, our true Comforter and Rescuer.”

Naomi directs Ruth and Orpah to return to their homeland; she urges them to continue on with their lives. Ruth refuses to leave Naomi, and makes a stand to stay with her until death separates them. She has learned to love and believe in Naomi’s God, our God. She firmly believes that she is supposed to stay with Naomi. Through the remainder of the story, we can see that God meets every need that Ruth has– physical, emotional, and spiritual. God’s plan for her was more wonderful than anything she could have imagined (as is promised for us as well– Ephesians 3:20). Through God’s providence, Ruth arrives with Naomi at the beginning of the barley harvest providing them plenty to eat. Through God’s providence, Ruth comes to the field of Boaz. Boaz is the man who becomes her husband and the man who fathers the child Obed. Obed will be the grandfather of King David, and from the lineage of David comes Jesus Christ. God is always working. 

We don’t always get to see the full story, actually, we rarely do. But there is a way to live this life so that we can experience joy, peace, and hope no matter what circumstances we face. When we choose to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and allow Him to control our lives, we have access to the gifts and goodness of our Father. He is the only one that will provide us full contentment. He is the only one who will always be able to give us supernatural hope, peace, redemption, comfort and love. When we surrender our lives over to Jesus, He will guide us. We must abide in Him, trust what He tells us to do, and then be obedient to His calling. There is no greater fulfilment than walking out what our Father has called us to do.

We experience rest as we share our hearts with Him, pour out our thoughts and feelings, and hand over our burdens to His care. We are often faced with needing to move forward when we cannot see how our stories will turn out. We may not see God working. We may not see how circumstances could change. Yet that doesn’t mean that the God who has committed to be our faithful Redeemer and Restorer has altered or that His commitment to us has wavered. Even if we cannot see the outcomes, we, too, will be rewarded for seeking and following the One who loves us with an everlasting love.

If there is one truth to fall back on, one truth for you to remember and rest in, let it be this: You are loved and You are His Beloved.

 

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