“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Phil 4:19-20
I’ve had an uncomfortable week. Work has been busy and a little more stressful than usual, and I haven’t spent as much time with Jesus as I’ve needed. Earlier in the week I was sailing along pondering some new possibilities and getting prematurely excited about something that had not happened yet. When that prospect became an impossibility, I really struggled with disappointment. There was nothing in my circumstances that had changed. But my hopes for something I’ve wanted a long time were up and then they were dashed. Back to the drawing board for another round of the waiting game. I spent a good part of my day wrestling with myself, trying to pull myself up out of the muck and trying not to be a terrible person to be around…my poor coworkers…
Disappointment is natural, but to stay disappointed and to let that turn into hopelessness and despair…and grumbling…is where I get into trouble. But I’ve found that perspective is everything. I had taken my eyes off of my Provider and was looking at my situation through my finite and weak eyes. Paul said that “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:11b-13) God’s provision was enough for Paul and it’s plenty enough for me. If I have Christ, I have everything I need. He will provide for me and will give me the strength I need to face whatever does or doesn’t come my way.
Sometimes we face circumstances where everything is good, life is sweet and we are full. But we still want more. It’s human nature. We were created for more than this fallen world can offer. But on this side of Heaven, we have to rest in the provision of God for us and learn that He is giving us everything we have to enjoy for His glory and to use to serve others.
At other times, we wonder how we could lose any more and still be able to live…Naomi, in the book of Ruth, is an example of this. She had lost her husband, her sons, her home, her livelihood in the midst of the evil times that are recorded in the book of Judges when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25b). Naomi and her daughter-in law, Ruth, were incredibly brave to venture back to Bethlehem with no known protection or provision. Ruth’s bravery, as a foreigner with a stigma of barrenness going into a land where gentiles were mistreated and barren women were unwanted, speaks volumes about her love and commitment to Naomi. But they were not alone; God was guiding them, providing for them through Boaz and ensuring the lineage of King David, and ultimately, of the Messiah.
Sometimes God’s provision comes in forms that we do not expect so we have to watch for it. Naomi did not expect, or even want, Ruth to accompany her to Bethlehem (not that she didn’t love Ruth, she just had nothing but uncertainty to offer her). But Ruth was part of God’s provision for Naomi. No doubt, Naomi would rather have had her husband and sons returned to her but oh, how much we learn from her story.
I draw so much comfort from the fact that her life is recorded in Scripture. It gives me great hope that the welfare of these two widows were important to God and that their lives were essential to the Story that He tells us in His Word. Naomi, who would have been completely alone in the world, was not forsaken by God. He held on to her the whole time; she was never out of His sight. He gave her a daughter-in-law who was “more to her than seven sons” (Ruth 4:15). He led her beside streams of still water, He fed her by the hands of Ruth and Boaz, and He restored her soul. She would eventually realize that “behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.” He was near to the brokenhearted, binding up her wounds. He still is.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.