I looked with dread at the day circled on the calendar. The anniversary of my father’s death was imminent. Other than my husband, my dad was my greatest cheerleader and source of emotional support. Our family greatly misses his kindness, wisdom, and sacrificial love. It’s been a long two years without him.
Something happened this year to change the way I view this anniversary date. A sweet little granddaughter was born! A day that sorrow had overshadowed is now a day filled with joy. I will not forget my father’s death, but the day has been redefined from one of sorrow to one of joy.
I thought of this theme of God redeeming a day when I read the biblical account of Naomi. Grieving Naomi would have taken it as a cruel joke if someone told her after she lost her husband and sons in a foreign land to, “Take heart! One day you will probably hold in your arms a grandson who will be the grandfather of Israel’s greatest king!” Yet, that is exactly what happened!
Chapter 4 of Ruth is the story of Boaz finding a way to make Ruth his wife. The story is one of redemption that redefined the sorrow experienced not only by Ruth, but also by Naomi. In time, a baby was born. Through this baby, God acted in giving Naomi a new reason to live—not just a reason that required faith in an unseen God, but a blessing from the Lord she could actually hold in her arms.
Naomi’s redemption carried significance far beyond the joy she experienced holding Obed. The immediate recognition came from the women in her community who acknowledged that now she had something that made life worth living. What God did in Naomi’s life became a testimony to others of his redemptive power.
The last verses of the book of Ruth include the names of Obed’s son and grandson, Jesse and David (Ruth 4:18-22). The significance of this inclusion can seem an afterthought, but trust me, you don’t want to miss the meaning. Letting us in on the future generations that come from Obed communicates God’s providence and care beyond the life of one woman. The significance of Obed’s birth takes on a completely new element when you trace the lineage of the child to David who played a significant role to the redemption of an entire nation. Then, trace David’s lineage to the birth of Jesus in the New Testament book of Matthew.
Do you get it? Nestled in God’s plan of redemption for one woman was the seed of his plan of redemption for the world through faith in Jesus Christ.
My sister, it is always easier to identify the hand of God when you look backward as opposed to looking forward into the unknown. When going through a season of challenging transition the key is not to attempt to tie God’s hands at what he can do nor fail to look at what he is doing. Have faith in all that he is going to do.
God can more than salvage a situation—he can redeem it and make it new!
How does the story of Ruth and Naomi give you hope and courage for times of unwelcomed transition?
Lord, you are a God who can exchange tragedy for hope.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You (Psalm 63:3 NASB). Amen.