"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)
Hey, friend. Have you ever been blown into a proverbial "ditch"?
Recently I worked with gusto at my computer. My back faced the windows of my home office; my thoughts focused on the words that my fingers, in turn, intently pecked out on the keyboard. Consequently, I was completely unaware of an approaching thunderstorm.
I'd awoken earlier to an unexpectedly cool summer day. The bright, yellow sun shone brilliantly. It greeted the new day with a hearty, "Good morning, world!" Birds were perched on nearby tree branches that gently swayed in the cool breeze. They chirped a chorus that filled the air with a sweet melody. Puffy, white clouds dotted a crayon-blue sky; each puff moved lazily across the horizon. The crystal-clear atmosphere enhanced the minutest details of a lush, green countryside. It was an absolutely breathtaking morning.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a strong gust of air blasted through the open windows and scattered papers throughout the room. Black, thunderous storm clouds gathered rapidly overhead. Without pause, the dark sky broke wide open and released pent-up rains. Powerful winds blew huge drops of water sideways. They slammed against the side of the house.
The unexpected storm's power was apparent. It left behind in its wake broken tree branches. Debris, carried by rushing water, littered the roadways. A plastic kiddie pool lay in a ditch.
What a vivid illustration of unexpected, difficult circumstances in life.
Such is the account of Naomi told in the Old Testament book of Ruth. Naomi and her family leave their home in Bethlehem because there's famine in the land. They move to the country of Moab. In a downward swirl of events, Naomi loses her husband, her two sons, her home, her livelihood, and perhaps even her hope. After ten years in Moab, she returns to Bethlehem, desolate. (Ruth)
Thank goodness God has a heart for rescue. He displays His sovereign control and His providential plan to Naomi through the unshaken love of her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and the kindness of a close relative, Boaz. Through their selfless acts, Naomi moves from emptiness to fullness (Ruth 1:21; 4:13-17).
Pastor and author Joe Stowell states, "God is in the details. He is at work in every circumstance of our life, particularly in the situations over which we have no control. The interesting thing, however, is that His providence is often hidden. He is at work and we don't know it. Given the sovereign, providential, loyal love of God in our life, we may not see anything happening. But, we can count on it!"
Sometimes life's storms hit with such force, they all but knock us off our feet. Where do you turn when the bottom drops out of your life? Where do you go when you face the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, the death of a dream, financial problems, or consequences of a poor choice?
We need a helping hand. We need someone who understands.
Can't find anyone? Why not share Naomi's rescuer? In her journey from despair in Moab to happiness in Bethlehem, Naomi came to know Him as Faithful and Redeemer. We know Him today by another name: Jesus. He's still available to people who need help standing in the midst of an unexpected storm.
Blessings, my friend.