Redeemed, Restored, Sustained

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustained of your old age...”

Ruth 4:14-15

This is the same Naomi who asked her community to call her “Mara”, meaning bitter, when she returned home after losing her husband and sons. A woman experiencing immense grief, wondering where God was in that pain.

God never left her side.

God redeemed Ruth, but He also redeemed Naomi. It was a carefully orchestrated plan of intentionally placed people who were willing to participate in God’s work that brought the story to a close: a bitter and broken woman redeemed and a foreigner who found a home  

It’s a mirror of the story of Jesus. A virgin girl about to be married, and a faithful but fearful husband to be. And yet they both said yes to God’s calling, and we have the Christmas narrative. Not that Jesus wouldn’t be here had they said no - God would have had a plan for that too. Everything is intentional, but not everyone will be willing. God’s plan carries on regardless.  

He has not left us without a way to redeem, restore, and sustain our lives. The question is not “will He do it?”, but rather, are we willing to participate? Can we choose to see the intentionality behind our circumstances? 

 

Building A Palace

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you though of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I joined a small group this semester and it feels like home. Especially when someone shared this quote and I felt chills run up my legs when she got to the part about God building a palace. Even more so when I was reading in Proverbs the following morning and was reminded of these words from my new community. 

Proverbs 20:24
"Man's steps are ordained by the Lord, how then can man understand his way?"

The LSAT student in me looked at this as an "if...then.."statement. If God ordains my steps, then I cannot expect to understand my path. 

This is not to suggest that God is senseless or bad at planning. But rather, God does bigger things that we would think of on our own. I don't not understand because God failed to form a cohesive plan for my life. Often, God is creating something that I can't fully make sense of yet. But it will make sense

I thought of the house that C. S. Lewis described. At first it made sense, until it didn't. Not only did it not make sense, but it hurt. Have you ever been there? 

But then I imagine God, the Creator, standing back and the I look with Him at the palace He built. And He is pleased, because it is good, and I am in shock, because I had no idea He was building something this majestic. And He takes my hand, and we go inside, because it's my palace that He expects me to use for His glory. The story of it's creation reveals His glory and goodness, just as every story that pours out of there will reveal. 

God does hard work in us, work that sometimes doesn't make sense or is beyond our understanding, to build something that reflects who He is and can be used to share the Gospel. 

In Your Light We See Light

Psalm 36 contrasts the transgressors and the righteous. And we resonate with both: we were once the transgressors who have been made righteous. That righteousness changes everything about us, not by any effort on our behalf to transgress less, but to God's glory for making us vessels of His goodness. 

Verse 9 reads: For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. 

It's a beautiful truth about what happens when we are saved from sin to eternal life, and it is a crucial truth to carry with us every day. Through God and God alone do we find life and do we see light in the darkness that is our world. What if every morning we found a way to sit in that, bask in that, fill ourselves up with more of God's light and less of our own dimly light attempts to be in control?