There’s an appropriate human response to God’s divine providence.
Do people see this quality in you?
It seems that 2020 and 2021 are twins. Perhaps not identical, but for sure carrying some of the same DNA. They both seem to contain the genetic code for life-altering setbacks.
Well, I’ll get right to the good news about that because the headlines provide us with plenty of the bad. Are you ready?
The next setback may be God’s set up for a comeback.
Of course, it’s also possible that we may be looking at faithfully enduring some more setbacks. If the last twelve months have proven anything, it’s that Jesus was telling the Truth when he essentially said this as recorded in John 16:33: everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace in me will be in you. You’ll need it because in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows. Be courageous and don’t forget: I have conquered the world!
He has conquered.
He said that before He died on the cross, my friend. He’d already done it. The plan was in motion to take care of you...and the ones you love!
The Scriptures contain promise after promise about God’s providence—or protective care of His creation. And you and I are the pinnacle of His artistry! He is at work even now to restore and display us and will triumph in the end.
Soak in these treasures if you need to download some faith to believe God is in control.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
II Corinthians 4:16, 17
Forget the former things,
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
And, of course, the ultimate comeback verse is found in the last book of the Bible.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
What a good day that will be!
Until then, we have to live on the human side of His providence. (What a bummer!) That brings with it a task that none of us really enjoys: waiting.
And that brings us back to the book of Ruth.
Life Lesson #3 from Ruth: Be still.
The book of Ruth is about God’s providence. His power to redeem. We see it not only in a parable written by the lives of Ruth and Boaz, but quite literally a handful of generations later. Check out Ruth’s name shining below in the genealogy of Jesus Christ!
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
This faithful gentile woman is woven into the legacy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through God’s providence. She was part of His plan to redeem and rescue humanity.
But, as you might know, Ruth had to endure her fair share of setbacks in spite of being in such a position of honor in God’s story. One of them happens in chapter three in the Old Testament book named after her.
As the curtain to this scene opens, it appears as though Ruth and Boaz will marry and everyone will live happily-ever-after. There’s just one small thing standing in the way: another man! (Can you say setback?)
Ruth runs home to tell her mother-in-law. I wonder how that conversation went? “Uhm, there’s good news and there’s bad news. What do you want first?”
Naomi must have said, “Lay it on me!” Because she gives Ruth some advice.
(I’ve just got to go on a quick and hope-filled rabbit trail here. Will you come with me? In my first article in the Life Lessons from Ruth series, I mentioned that Naomi had a bad case of bitterness. It seems she’s better. And able to give good advice. Doesn’t that give you hope? God is able to make the bitter better!)
Ready to hear Naomi’s advice? Here it is:
Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out.
Sit still, my daughter.
The human side of divine providence is waiting. The Scriptures are as full of this Truth as they are the promises that God’s working His plan to rescue us. You cannot soak in the good news unless you’re also willing to embrace these words of instruction.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
There’s a sweet reward in the waiting: God will strengthen you there.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
There are certainly moments when God wants us to take action and to speak up. But I believe He most often wants us to quietly wait on Him and trust Him.
There are certainly people who God appoints to confront evil and warn others. But I believe even they must wait on the Lord for their instructions or they will only contribute to the setbacks.
Waiting is an action that demonstrates trust in God. It is evidence of our faith in His providence.
We cannot get this wrong. I fear many do. If God is calling us to be action, we have to be sure exactly what, how, and when. We can do the right thing in the wrong time, with the wrong heart, and in the wrong way if we do not wait on the Lord.
Did you wait before you:
- posted that social media rant?
- called your child’s school to express your opinions?
- confronted your friend? Pastor? Boss?
- quit your job? Sold your house? Moved your family?
My friend, God has us in a time and place where we must wait. Being still is a powerful and disciplined action. The gentleness and peace that flows out of a woman capable of waiting is a great demonstration of faith in a fearful world.
Be still, my daughter.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
Tools to Go Deeper into the Book of Ruth!
For Women and Teens!
Do you want to dive deeper into the book of Ruth? Revive Our Hearts has some great tools for you and the teenager in your life!
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth recently broadcast an in-depth podcast series on Ruth to coincide with the release of an ALL-NEW Women of the Bible study on Ruth featuring a familiar True Girl teacher: Erin Davis. Here’s a sneak peak of that conversational and contemporary six-week study.
This six-week study with Scripture memory, daily study, and group discussion questions is ideal for both individual and group study.
Do you have a daughter who might like to go deeper in the story of Ruth? True Girl has released an all-new study on the book of Ruth for girls ages 8–12. Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty. Together, you’ll explore topics like true friendship, finding joy in hard times, dealing with mean people, and seeing God in painful circumstances. You can even sign up to go through the study online with Dannah Gresh and Staci Rudolph!
True Girl Bible Studies feature important women in the Bible so girls can learn from their example. We created them to help moms—and grandmoms—teach their daughters and granddaughters how to study God’s Word.