“Everything that happens in the world is part of a great plan of God running through all time.” -Henry Ward Beecher
I first read the book, God Is No Fool, twenty-eight years ago. It challenged me then, and today I’m still meditating on chapter forty-three:
“People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder. I believe in God’s master plan in our lives. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of the bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched you. Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question, and never regret.”/1
During the time of the Judges, there was a terrible famine in the land. Elimelech, an Israelite from Bethlehem, moved his two sons and wife, Naomi, to escape destruction./2 Soon after arriving in Moab, he died, leaving his family alone in a foreign country. While caring for their mother, Mahlon and Kilion married Orpah and Ruth. After ten years of marriage, another dreadful thing happened. The sons died, leaving all three women alone (Ruth 1:1-5).
Deciding to return home, Naomi urged the girls to return to their own people. Orpah did so, but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi. Leaving everything behind, Ruth followed Naomi (Ruth 1:6-22).
Upon arriving in Bethlehem during the barley harvest, Ruth gleaned grain in a field that belonged to a man named Boaz (Ruth 2:1-7). She did not know that Boaz was part of Naomi’s family, nor did she know that Naomi was trying to find her a new husband (Ruth 2:8-23). Naomi’s match-making efforts were successful, for Boaz loved Ruth. They were married, had a son, and they named him Obed. Obed was the grandfather of King David (Matthew 1:1-6).
Through Boaz, God took care of Elimelech’s family. God has always been concerned for the welfare of his people. Are we aware of our responsibility to protect the poor and oppressed? Genuine concern for others may require sacrifice. Christian, are you up for the task?
“I will sing of my Redeemer,
and His heavenly love to me:
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God, with Him to be.” -P.P. Bliss
1/ Lois A. Cheney, God Is No Fool (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1969), 81.
2/ Naomi means pleasant.
Ruth and Naomi