“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
If you would allow me a little bit of poetic license here, I want to share with you something God revealed to me. I wonder about the things that have happened to me and why I’ve had to go through certain things before I can get to the good things of God. Then I was doing my Bible study the other morning and I got one of those “Ah Ha!” moments.
I was actually studying in the gospels and reading the lineage of Jesus Christ. It says in Matthew that “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” Now bear with me for a little Biblical history lesson here. The ancient prophesies said that Jesus had to be the lineage of David.
Let’s look at David’s grandfather Obed, whose mother was Ruth. We’ve all read the book of Ruth. We use it as an example of love and loyalty. But it was way more than that. It was part of God’s plan and God’s purpose.
Ruth was married to Naomi’s son. The son died and Naomi told Ruth and her other daughter-in-law to go home to their own people. Ruth refused and begged Naomi to let her stay. Ruth’s husband has just died. She was in mourning, and believe me, mourning and grief hurt. She probably felt all lost and alone and now Naomi, someone she loved, was rejecting her. You can believe they were suffering from an intense heartbreak. Not to mention the strain they were under financially. It’s all in the book.
So Ruth went to work in the fields picking up the refuse left behind by the harvesters to feed Naomi and herself. I imagine this could be the equivalent of dumpster diving. Boaz saw her and basically fell for her. They married, had a child — Obed. Obed fathered Jessie and Jessie gave birth to David and so on and so forth until we get to Jesus. Ta Da! God’s prophecy is fulfilled.
Do you really think Ruth was thinking about all of this as she was walking through the wheat field picking up the scattered remnants of food for her and Naomi? I don’t profess to be a mind reader. I’ve been told often enough that I am not. But as a human being, I believe Ruth was walking through that field terrified she was not going to get enough food to feed them both. I imagine she was worried about how they were going to survive the next day. She probably was heartsick over the loss of her husband and mourning the fact that she may not be able to ever love and have children. At least that’s what I think.
It doesn’t say much in the book of Ruth about how Ruth actually felt. It is more a chronicle of what she did and how God blessed her. God blessed her over and abundantly because she did what she was supposed to do. She could have said, “Okay see ya!” when Naomi told her to go back to her own people. Her life certainly would have been a lot easier. But she didn’t. She was compelled to stay with her mother-in-law. Because she was part of God’s plan.
I’ve had a couple of people say to me in the past couple of weeks that the early church had to be persecuted to get them scatter so they could fulfill God’s purpose, which was to go out and spread the gospel. That must have hurt. Here they were, going along about God’s business and they are being persecuted. Well they were just a little bit too comfortable.
The moral of this story is: Sometimes God has to kick us in the rear end to get us to do what he wants us to do. Sometimes it hurts, but it gets the job done and we end up a lot better off. So if you are going through something extremely heartbreaking and painful, ask God for wisdom. Seek his purpose. Ask him what changes does he want you to make, and where are we going with this. I think you might be surprised at his answer.
Journalist and one-time disc jockey and stand-up comedian Stacy Reynolds began writing at an early age and is the author of the thriller The Sound of Silence. She graduated from Southwest Texas State with a degree in English and journalism and settled in Austin, Texas.