Summary: In your time of need, trust God for direction, protection, and provision.
After a night out with friends, David Brown, an Englishman, woke up with a series of random numbers in his head. After trying to figure what those numbers meant, he sent a text message using those numbers. In the message, he asked, “Did I meet you last night?” The recipient was a confused Michelle Kitson, who lived just 60 miles from Brown. They had NOT met the night before, but over time, they would meet. In fact, five years after he sent that first text message, the two got married.
“She really is the girl of my dreams,” Brown says. (“It wasn't all bad,” The Week, 5-4-07; www.PreachingToday.com)
It’s amazing how stuff just happens, or does it? If you know the Lord, you know that just isn’t true. God is always at work behind the scenes to accomplish His good and perfect will, even when you have no idea what’s going on.
Naomi and Ruth, two widow ladies in the Old Testament discovered that to be true for them. They had lost their husbands and their sole means of support. They had no jobs, no family to care for them, and no access to food stamps or a medical card. They were living in Bethlehem, forced to scrounge for leftover grain in fields that were just harvested.
And yet, God was at work behind the scenes to provide in unbelievable ways. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Ruth 2, Ruth 2, where we see how God worked for them, and how He wants to work for you and me today.
Ruth 2:1 Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man [lit., a mighty man, a hero] of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. (ESV)
We’re introduced to Boaz early, because he is going to play a significant part in Ruth’s life, though Ruth doesn’t know it yet. In fact, at this point, Ruth doesn’t even know Boaz exists, but WE know. He is one of Israel’s heroes, and he just happens to be a close relative.
Ruth 2:2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” (ESV)
Ruth wants to find a friendly harvester and pick up the leftover grain. Though she’s poor, she’s no slouch. She is a woman of character, not expecting any handouts. Instead, she is willing to work hard in the hot sun all day in order to provide for herself and her mother-in-law.
Ruth 2:3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. (ESV)
Literally, her hap happened, or her chance chanced, as she came to Boaz’ field. From Ruth’s perspective, one field was just as good as another. She was walking down the road, trying to figure out which field to glean in. She looked to the left. She looked to the right, and just decided, “I guess I’ll go this way.” She just happened to end up in a certain field. That was Ruth’s perspective. From God’s perspective, He led her to the place HE wanted her to be. God led her to the place where she would be blessed beyond measure.
Donald Gray Barnhouse once said, “It is our business to see that we DO right; God will see that we come OUT right” (Leadership¸ Vol.1, No.2).
And that’s exactly what happened to Ruth. She wasn’t looking for a husband. She wasn’t looking for wealth or fame. All she wanted to do was take care of her mother-in-law. She concerned herself with what WAS right, and God saw to it that she came OUT right.
God directed her steps, and God will direct your steps, as well.
Tullian Tchividjian talks about dealing with the pain of his parents’ unexpected divorce. He went to see Larry Crabb, a Christian counselor, who asked him, “How's your mom and dad doing?”
Tchividjian replied, “Larry, I don't know what to do. Seriously. I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down. I don't get this. It's excruciating.”
Larry could see that he was trapped in the prison of Why, banging he head against the bars. He said, “Tullian, listen to me: The ‘why’ is none of your concern. This is not your burden to fix or figure out. You are not responsible for your parents' relationship or their reputation, or even your own reputation. Those are in God's hands, and his ways are his, not ours. When it comes to God's will, the sooner you can get out of the conjecture business, the better. If you don't go to your grave confused, you don't go to your grave trusting. Painful as it is, this situation gives you an opportunity to show them grace, to love them in their brokenness in a new way. Which is precisely what Jesus has done for you and continues to do for you.” (Tullian Tchividjian, Glorious Ruin, David C. Cook, 2012, pp. 122-123; www.PreachingToday.com)