We had some very pretty clouds one recent morning that I enjoyed as I looked out my favorite upstairs window. I sat at my desk having my quiet time as my eyes kept glancing out at the ever-changing sky. Suddenly there was brightness as the sun began to shine. I quickly snapped this picture before the moment passed.
One fact that I have observed over my years of sky watching is that when the sun shines on storm clouds, the clouds become more beautiful. The sun sharpens the contrasts between the clouds and the rest of the sky, and between the clouds and the ground. The true beauty of those storm clouds is fully shown when the sun shines.
I have just finished studying the book of Ruth. This familiar story is one that we love to tell. It’s a favorite for children’s Sunday school classes. It’s so familiar to us and so easily compressed into a 30 minute lesson that we often don’t stop to really consider what God did with Naomi and Ruth.
What especially spoke to me this morning was how Naomi found herself in an impossibly difficult and hopeless situation in a foreign land. She was an Israelite in Moab. Her husband and two sons had died. She was left destitute with no means of support.
We all know the story. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, stayed with her and together they traveled back to the land of Israel. Ruth asked permission to go gather grain and by God’s providence she ended up in the field of Boaz. He was the kinsman-redeemer, unknown to Ruth, and they ended up getting married. To that union God gave them baby Obed, grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Himself.
OK. It’s a wrap. We’ll have a new story next week, children.
But wait! Stop!
Just think of how the providence of God is all over this story.
When we let God’s light shine on this story then we can see the deep storms surrounding Naomi and Ruth. Their situation was truly hopeless.
But God’s light also reveals the beauty of those storms because it was in those hopeless moments that God’s plan was so amazingly revealed.
Do you find yourself in a scary and desperate place?
Do your walls seem impossible to climb?
Do your clouds look dark and foreboding?
Do you think of your future needs…or your needs today…and wonder how on earth things will work out?
All I know is that God wants to shine. He wants to show me how He works in the darkness of the storm.
But it’s how HE works that I need to stop and see.
And God doesn’t need my help.
He needs me to trust.
The God of Naomi and Ruth is my God, too. He has a plan for me that He will accomplish every bit as much as He did for them.
Hopelessness is the best venue in which we can see God shine.
And as God shines, that storm will prove to be a place of beauty…the beauty of knowing my heavenly Father better and seeing that His plan in this place is truly full of His providence and purpose.