by Mark Carey
REALITY AND TRUTH
Some years ago the Lord spoke to me about reality and truth. The reality is that things don’t always go our way, that circumstances sometimes are against us, or at the very least are not encouraging. We suffer. It is no use trying to leave reality behind as it is the circumstances we live in. But truth breaks into reality. The truth is that God intervenes, redeems, restores and revives – he can’t help doing these kinds of things. Jesus teaches us that as we hold to his teachings then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32). Reality is not the circumstances that we live under but rather the circumstances we live over because we have the truth. Here’s the truth: God is going to visit your circumstances, your reality…so get ready!
OUR PLANS AND HIS
It is funny sometimes to look back on plans we had and see how God clearly had a different agenda. Proverbs 19:21 is a favourite verse of mine: ‘many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails’. It looks like Naomi had a plan about going back to Israel and what to do about her daughters-in-law. She was probably expecting to return to Bethlehem and live some sort of hopeless half-life on the back of charity from her distant relatives. In effect she would have a roof over her head but an extremely limited future. God had other ideas. She was also expecting that both young women would do what she suggested and return to their mothers’ homes. Again, God had other ideas.
The plan changed radically because Ruth decided she was not going to let go of Naomi. We are told that ‘Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her’ (1:14). A cross-reference to Deuteronomy 10:20 helps us understand that these words are not just about holding on to Naomi, they are also about holding fast to the Lord. If she went back to her people she would have to worship their gods, but through Naomi she has discovered Yahweh and there is no going back. For Naomi, returning home with Ruth was the one thing that meant the possibility, however remote, of a good future. When you are in despair, struggling and at your wits end, the gift of God may well be a person of faith to come alongside you. Naomi didn’t plan for that, but God did.
This material copyright New Wine Magazine and used with permission