Disclaimer: I am not a preacher or a Bible scholar. As I said in my “About” post, I am a church-goer and a Christ-follower. This is my own interpretation and my own belief. I don’t discount yours if they are different than mine, but I’m also not posting this to debate the Bible. Just needed y’all to know that.
Have you ever heard the story of Ruth in the Bible? You probably have. You know that Ruth’s first husband moved her to a new town. Then, he died, her two sons married and moved away, and she was all alone.
So let’s picture this for a second. In our lives, there are only a few things that we believe can be worse than losing our spouse—one of the most devastating, life-changing events one could ever experience. Then, on top of it, you find yourself alone with an empty nest, forced to face that loss away from your own family and friends. The only person Ruth had was her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi told her to go back to her own family where she would have a support system, but Ruth stayed. The tale of their friendship and love for one another is a beautiful one.
But there is a bigger story here. Ruth ended up staying in this strange city with her mother-in-law,Naomi, and meeting a man named Boaz. Boaz knew Naomi, and praised Ruth for being so loyal. She gained favor with him for her work ethic. He eventually asked her to be his wife.
Now, what is remarkable to me about this story is what comes later….much later. You see, Ruth and Boaz, her second husband, had a son. His name was Obed. He was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David. Old testament King David. You know, wrote the Book of Psalms. Ruth and Boaz were his great-great grandparents. And King David was in the direct genealogical line of Jesus.
Let’s just stop and think about that for a second.
When we lose someone we love, when we lose a job, when a relationship is severed, when we are physically hurt, we all tend to ask “Why?” Why did this happen to me? Sometimes, we are allowed to see the answer during our lifetime. We can look back a month, six months, 6 years or 60 years and see a direct correlation to that question. We come to understand why it happened. We see what was allowed to become our new reality, our new little world, because of something that was taken away from us. If we get to experience that earthly understanding, we are lucky.
But sometimes we don’t. In this case, Ruth was allowed to live a new life with a new husband and that, in itself, was a joy. She may have felt like she got her answer to the question, “Why?” And she probably thought the answer was, “Because I want you to be happy after you’ve lost so much.” But now, over 2,000 years later, we can see a much bigger answer to that question. Now we can see that, when she asked, “Why?”, God’s answer was, “Because if you don’t find Boaz, my Son won’t be born.”
It is so easy to question. We all do. But sometimes, setbacks in our lives, tragedies and disappointments happen, and we just get angry. We are mad at God, mad at whomever we believe caused our grief, mad at ourselves, or just flat mad. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, instead, we could not ask “Why?” but rather, “What is the bigger picture?” Can I find a reason for this? If I can’t, can I be patient and wait for one? Can I be thankful when I see it, even if it is years or decades away? And even if I never do, can I still appreciate that this horrible hurt may have happened to me so that I may help someone else, or to put me on a new path, to give me a new direction, to give me the opportunity to meet the person that I’m REALLY supposed to be with, or to give me a career that I never knew I wanted?
I personally believe in God’s divine plan, but even if you don’t, so much that happens to us is determined by our attitudes. If we say everything is terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad, then it will be. If we choose to look at a sad, scary, frustrating, or tragic situation with positivity (or even…GASP!…. are able to THANK GOD for it), how different would our lives be? How different would the world look? How much more could we accomplish? How much joy could we find?
Tonight, I challenge myself and every one of you. When a kink in your plan occurs, when that guy breaks up with you, when you lose someone you love, when you get fired from your job, can you try to ask, “What is the bigger picture?” instead of “Why?”….and just see what happens.
I’m betting, you’ll find your Boaz.