We have high school small group every other Monday. The cool thing is we usually get a bigger response at small group then youth sometimes. This particular Monday night though, one student showed up.
At first I was a little discouraged. But then I was just so happy that she was there. This would give my other leader and I the chance to connect with her one and one and let her share her heart.
Right now we are going through the book of Ruth. I love this book so much. I think I just kinda forgot about it.
The coolest thing that came up is how faithful God is to always come through for us even when things seem hopeless. Naomi, Ruth's mother in law, was so bitter. She had lost her husband and two sons. Her whole life was gone. I can't really blame her bitterness. I don't know what I would do if I lost my husband. Would I become bitter? Honest answer, I'm sure. Hopeful answer, I hope not.
So she moves back to her home town, with Ruth in tow because she refuses to leave her mother in law, and begins a new life. If you know the end of the story, it ends beautifully. Which you would never guess considering the circumstances at the beginning of the story.
I used to ask God a lot of questions about the hard things. Ask Him why He would allow things similar to what happened to Naomi, happen at all. Why Bella has cancer. Why my pastor's daughter didn't get to celebrate her 5th Birthday. Why Dads don't make it home sometimes and why wives mourn the loss of a husband. And then I stopped asking and just realized that even if I had the answer, and even if I didn't, it wouldn't change anything. I would still choose to believe in Jesus. I would still love Him and live my life for Him and I will still choose everyday to be His, no matter what. The answer was clear, He loves all of us so much He was willing to die Himself. Every single broken heart, He is holding in His hands. He weeps with us and promises that He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. (Psalm 34:18) He doesn't leave us to fend for ourselves but rescues us in our despair.
The story doesn't end with Naomi still bitter and Ruth alone. Nope, not even close. This is what Ruth 4:13-15 says:
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
The Lord had done so much in such a short time. He took what was broken and made it whole again for Naomi. She had a daughter in law who loved her so much she wasn't willing to ever leave her side. Her daughter in law then gave birth to a son and Naomi got to be his nurse. And because she listened to God and did what was right and instructed Ruth to marry Boaz, she played a HUGE role in bringing Jesus into this world. Because you know Ruth is the great grandma of Jesus right? How SWEET is that?!! I just can't get over how cool God is!
And it's all just a beautiful reminder that God is so faithful. He truly does keep His promise 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) He wants the very best for us. And although in the midst of tragedy we can't see that, He always comes through in the end.
And I'll leave you with this lovely note, Boaz is a picture of Jesus to us. He was her redeemer just like Jesus is ours. God did not leave them without a redeemer but provided a way just like He did with Jesus. What a beautiful picture. I love the Old Testament so much because it tells the story of what God was about to do through Jesus.
Have you seen God do this in your life? Take something horrible and make it beautiful? I would LOVE to hear about it :) Have a great day friends!