Read His Words Before Ours!
No access to food.
Out of work.
Uprooted from home.
Three family deaths.
In a post-COVID-19 world, these descriptions are more easily relatable for all of us.
As we watched our entire globe shut down from a virus we couldn’t stop, stealing away commonplace freedoms, our jobs, our toilet paper (!!), and threatening the lives of those we love most, our world was upended. The life we’d enjoyed before phrases like “shelter-at-home”, “quarantine”, and “shortage” became everyday idioms seemed to quickly fade away and we wondered when, or if, “normal” would ever return.
For those who lost precious loved ones, nothing would ever be the same.
These words filled the pages of Naomi’s story.
Her tagline had become, “My life is too bitter for others to share.” (Ruth 1:13)
She was alone, and had resigned herself to seek out her existence in the lowest position possible of loss and defeat.
“The Lord Is Against Me!” her heart screamed.
One day, Naomi would dandle grandbabies on her knee. (Ruth 4:16)
One day, hope would shine brilliantly where her tears now flowed without end.
One day, Naomi would witness the unimaginable happen before her eyes as her daughter-in-law remarried and restoration was reborn. (Ruth 4:10-13)
One day, Naomi’s great-great grandson would be King David, the man after God’s own heart, through whose line would one day come the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:5-6)
One day, happiness would dance in all the places where brokenness now resided. (Ruth 4:17)
But for now, all her heart could feel was empty, bitter, and broken.
Though she frequently repeated what she felt to be true to others, “the Lord is against me”, it wasn’t true.
The Lord God hadn’t left her.
He was, and always had been, infinitely closer than she imagined. (Isaiah 41:9-10)
The Lord God had not glossed over her emptiness with the callous heart of an all-powerful Being.
He was intent on her restoration and her filling. (Joel 2:25-27)
Despite the true reality of the Lord’s ceaseless presence, His purposeful call on her life, and His tender-loving compassion as He carried and guided her,
all Naomi could voice was, “The Lord Is Against Me.”
Oh my heart, I am right there with you, Naomi!
It’s so much easier to allow the immense weight of feelings and circumstance wrap around us like a heavy knitted blanket, than to shirk the comforter, pick up the armor of God, and sink our fingers into the tightly woven rope of God’s truth.
With gritted teeth and streaming tears, we CAN cry aloud….
You ARE near to the brokenhearted, God! (Psalm 34:18)
You DO see my painful circumstances! (2 Chronicles 16:9)
You are NOT oblivious to the widespread devastation I feel in my heart (Psalm139:1-5)
You have wiped my tears before, and I KNOW You will do it again. (Psalm 56:8-9)
You are a God of FULLNESS. (Ephesians 3:19)
You are LOVE! (1 John 4:16)
You hold all HOPE, and You, You cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)
So, here, in the shadows of my heart’s jagged edges, I will choose to cling to truth over deception. I will lift a tongue to praise You, one slow word at a time. As tears continue to streak my face, I will repeat, “You are my God, and there is no other!” (1 Chronicles 17:20)
We stand generations far removed, and deeply benefited, from Naomi’s story, easily tracing the handiwork of the Lord over her remarkable life. We can quickly point out the flag of redemption wildly waving amidst the rubble of her seeming defeat.
But Naomi could not.
And God still walked beside her.
Sister, friend, ME, hello!
How deeply the Lord God loves the journey of walking with us!
He is not repulsed by our lack of faith, our bitter tears, our slowly plodding feet, or the misnomers with which we title our stories. He smiles, holds out His hand, wipes our tears, and invites us to take just one more step. “Trust Me.”
The Almighty is not offended at our painful, angry jabs back at Him, nor is He threatened by our dismal decision to wrap ourselves in emotion rather than truth.
But He does want to move us forward,
and into redemption.
As we move forward with Him, He faithfully provides in the most unlikely ways, at the most unlikely times, but that is just like the Lord our God to take our impossible and draw out God’s glory! (Matthew 19:26)
As Naomi, bitter, hurt, angry, and grieving, determined to return to her homeland because “she had heard the Lord had paid attention to His people’s need by providing them food” (Ruth 1:6), the Lord provided by giving Naomi the gift of Ruth.
Ruth would be a physical reminder to Naomi that God had not abandoned her.
Ruth would live out loyalty and love that mirrored God’s heart to her.
Ruth would wrap her arms around Naomi’s, weep with Naomi, and walk every step beside her, loving Naomi as God loved her.
And herein we see the beauty of the Lord’s provision to us in the middle of our gutsy, rash decree that “The Lord Is Against Me.”
No, Sister, He isn’t.
He never has been.
When we pushed the Lord away angrily, He drew near and sacrificed Himself for us, spilling His blood and providing the payment for a debt to Death we owed, but could never pay. He provided then, and He provides for us now. (Romans 5:6-11)
Give Him your pen, Sister; let Him finish your story.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!