Life tempts us to believe that God is absent from misfortune. If circumstances are sour, our heart’s first inclination is to question what brought us to such lowly circumstances. Some of us do not know how to hold onto truth when the little annoyances of our day seem constant. We seem to forget very quickly the omnipresence of our God.
Take the story of Ruth for example. After leaving her home country, Ruth follows her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem. Empty and poor, Ruth seeks to work hard for she and Naomi by gleaning in a field of harvesters for food. This was a custom that was set up by the Lord for the purpose of providing for the poor.
There she was…gleaning. Though she could have ended up gleaning in a field of less favorable management, she found herself in the portion of Naomi’s kind relative, Boaz. “She happened to be in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz…”. Yet, we know there are no coincidences here.
In Psalm 16, the great-grandson of Boaz, King David, writes:
Ruth might have thought she chose a random field, but the outcome of her life was in the hands of a sovereign and kind Redeemer. She had lost her husband, moved away from her home, and finds herself gleaning in a foreign field, surrounded by people she doesn’t know. Can you imagine how lonely she must have felt? Loneliness aside, she was in survival mode. Working with fervor to feed herself and Naomi, she was not in Boaz’s field by accident. She thought that misfortune was all around her, but just around the corner was God’s abundant provision. It might have seemed she was overlooked and misplaced, but just around the corner was blessing unimaginable.
No, she wasn’t there by accident. She was divinely placed there to receive from the Lord redemption and hope. We can have confidence that where God has placed us is no accident. Whether that be your place of work, financial situation, illness, loss, grief, loneliness; take your pick. God is there. He is overseeing your life. There is not a hair of your head that our God does not keep count of. Do you think he is not amidst your particular circumstance? The Lord of all creation? “O ye, of little faith!”
In times of uncertainty— especially when doubt appears to be the frequent emotional state I find myself in— I like to remember this truth:
Life perplexes us, does it not? But God is not confused. He is in control. Can we trust the Lord with where we find ourselves? Look around. Do you see misfortune in your life? The saints before us were marked by circumstances of poverty that led to the blessing of God’s grace in their lives and in the lives to come. Things may seem bland and stagnant in your life, but God is moving. He is working all things for good. In the mundane decisions we make and through the unique tragedies that befall, God is at work. Not only for your sake, but for those to come. Your season of suffering will be comfort to someone one day. However it might feel as you glean the leftovers of a hard life.
Remember Ruth, fellow doubter. Through her lineage would come our blessing unimaginable. Jesus Christ. To her, it was another day of surviving. God had other plans.