If the hard things that God has allowed into my life have taught me anything, it’s that God must have a plan.
Normally, I would fight it, beg "why," and throw a fit, but seeing God's faithfulness in rich ways has caused my perspective to change from blame to knowing that there must be more. And I simply don’t know what it is…yet.
There are so many times when I have faced things in life and thought, “Wow, God, you have the worst timing ever!” But as I have seen His plans unfold, I have come to look back on what was perfect timing in a plan far better than I could have crafted myself.
To start, we were not planning on having kids until a little later. We were getting closer to the point of trying, but getting pregnant this summer was not in the plan. However, the fact that we did and how we did was a clear indication of God himself saying that this was the right time. It frustrated me to death because there were so many unknowns and so many unanswered questions. There were several nights of breakdowns from fear and overwhelming anxiety about the future and it wasn’t just about the baby. Stress progressed as everything in our lives seemed to come to a head-health, careers, finances-it bore the question of where God was in this and what His plan could possibly be.
God, being as faithful as ever, came through as always, and not with exacting clear answers (which is what I always want), but with a peaceful and wise message from His Word.
A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday morning, I woke up and felt as though God was beckoning me to spend some time with him. I got up, made tea, and grabbed my bible and my journal. I really was not sure where to begin, but since we were studying about David in the women’s elective at church, I decided to start in I Samuel. As I did, I felt God back-tracking me to the end of Ruth so I read chapter 4, starting in verse 13. This close to the book described Ruth and Boaz giving birth to a son, Obed, and proceeds to list the lineage of David, from Obed to his father Jesse.
The backdrop to the book of Ruth, as you may know, is that Naomi and Ruth lost everything. Naomi lost her two sons, her husband, and possessions. Because she was a woman, she lost rights to her husband’s property. Because of the absence of men and the inability to procreate and carry on the family line, essentially an entire ancestry ceased. The family line could not go on. Naomi even tells her daughters-in-law, in Ruth chapter 1, to go back home to their families because there was no hope of her getting remarried and no sons to give to them in marriage. That is until Ruth found redeeming love through Boaz. She was determined to stay the course with Naomi through the struggle, which ultimately led to her introduction and later marriage to Boaz. Their union restored the family line and even cause Naomi to be able to acquire some of her husbands land back.
What is so significant about this is that this child redeemed the family line, which inevitably led to the birth of David, which through the Davidic Covenant became the line of Jesus the Messiah. What had once been lost was now restored...completely.
As I read this, I felt that God was saying that even though there were hard things in our lives, that He had a redemptive and restorative plan for Michael and I, and that the pregnancy and birth of this child was part of that plan. Since then, I have come to a place of complete peace about everything knowing that God, in His faithfulness, is working to restore Michael and I, and that through some hardships, there is a redemptive purpose. That morning, I realized that more was at stake than just the natural things we were struggling with. God had a greater and longer-lasting purpose for all of this and it wasn't just to fulfill earthly needs. He really desired to do a work in our lives that was so much deeper than the physical circumstances.
You see God doesn't just want to give us simple physical things. It's not about him just handing us a car, house, husband, children, or a job. He can do all that and more. What God is really trying to do in our lives is deeper than just handing us things. He wants to change our hearts, improve our lives, and most of all show His glory.
In light of this holiday season, I wanted to share this story with you. I know that a lot of you don't have it easy. Don't be fooled by Facebook. No one's life is perfect. After coming to the realization that God had something more in mind for us, I wondered how many others out there needed restoration and redemption in their lives in some form or fashion. Perhaps its the relationship with a loved one or friend. Maybe you have been operating under a burden of stress and anxiety. Perhaps you have even experienced great loss this holiday season or in the past, and the holidays only serve as a painful reminder of things that can never be or are no longer.
Circumstances can cause us to forget that God will never leave us nor forsake us. He has a plan and purpose for our lives meant for good and not harm. When we pass through troubled waters, He is with us. His rod and staff comfort us because He is the good shepherd. His mercies are new each morning and His grace is sufficient for us.
I know that God has a redemptive and restorative purpose for you, whatever that may be. The world can look so ugly at times, but when God shines light in the seemingly darkest places, beautiful and lasting things happen.