Photo: Creative Commons Aaron Wolpert

Photo: Creative Commons Aaron Wolpert

If there's one thing I have learned in the last few years it's that our suffering is not in vain. I believe that God is in everything and that brings me more comfort than I can even describe. To know that God hasn't turned his back on me, and that he is working all things out for his glory brings me strength to be able to face even the worst of days.

I've been reading the book of Ruth over the past week and the thing that keeps striking me about this story is that we all know the ending to this story, but in the ┬ámidst of it things seem desperate to these ladies. When Naomi's husband dies, and her two sons die, and her and Ruth move back home, things seem out of control. Ruth & Naomi literally returned so empty handed that Naomi says, “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.” She felt the urgency of this struggle. She felt as though God had turned his back on her in this moment.

I want to go over to Naomi, hold her in my arms and whisper truths in her ear. God never left her and surely didn't forget about her. In fact he was working out her despair for his glory. He was working big things in her life. You see we know the end. Before we even start the book of Ruth we know that in ┬áchapter one they lose everything and feel as though life is over. We know in chapter 2 that there is a bit of hope because Ruth has found someone that is blessing her in spite of her nationality. We know in chapter 3 that Ruth asks Boaz to redeem her and finally in chapter four we know that Ruth and Boaz marry and their great grandson was King David. King David, the one whom God calls “a man after my own heart”. And just because we've read the whole bible and know the whole story we know that Ruth is in the lineage of our savior, Jesus. Jesus, the one who saves us. The one who redeems us. The one who makes all things new. Jesus.

Her suffering was never in vain and it was never without purpose. Sometimes I wonder if we could scan back over our life and see the big picture if we would then understand more of our lives and the paths we are on. That's how I feel when I read Ruth. I want to let them know that one day Jesus is coming from your family. Rejoice, God has not testified against you, but yet he is for you and has big plans for your life!

God, let us all remember this when we feel as though the Lord has turned his back on us.

Jamie Ivey