“…so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.” Ruth 1:5 (ESV)
C.S Lewis, in The Problem of Pain writes, “Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to [God]…”
As we discussed last week in our first look into Ruth, there is no way to pinpoint just how involved God was in bringing Naomi to this point of isolation (notice there is in the above verse, no mention of her daughter’s in-law, though she was left with them). Verse 6, does make it valid to believe that just as God was active in visiting his people temporarily with food, God also is the one withholding food, bringing Bethlehem to famine, because of the breach of covenant in the times of the Judges (v.1; cf. Judges 21:25). Yet we have no voice from heaven, no Job 1 & 2, to give us some background about what it is that God may be up to, if anything, in Naomi’s life.
And if this is intentional, I believe that it is brilliant on the part of the author. For the way that he writes Naomi’s life, well….he writes yours and mine.
Christian’s believe in the One True Everlasting God. Right?
We believe that He is Providential and Sovereign. Right?
Evangelicals go to extreme (and ridiculous) measures to teach the truth of an intimate relationship with Christ. Right?
God leads. God is close.
God shepherds. God is intimate.
God is Holy. Jesus is Brother.
God is Holy. Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses.
From age to age,
century to century,
year to year,
day to day,
hour by hour,
minute by minute,
second by second,
moment by moment,
God is aware.
But how Ruth’s author writes our lives is in this:
We don’t know what he may do next.
This is not to make God seem chaotic. NEVER!
We, as Chesterton notes, “We talk of wild animals; but man is the only wild animal. It is man who has broken out…man alone is ever undomestic.”
We are so unstable that God’s consistency is chaotic!
We are the ones refusing peace, which makes his law seem harsh!
Stubborn children,” declares the LORD.
“Who carry out a plan,
but not mine…”
In fact the author of Ruth may not completely isolate us in our uncertainty about God.
I believe that he isolates us in our mortality before God.
You see, people may say that sex, drugs, materialism, fame, popularity, security, love, money, alcohol are gateways to addictive behavior.
Our manner of pursuit for them is indeed confirmation of this.
But not everyone is addicted to any or all of these.
But, nevertheless, we are ALL addicts.
Oh yes, we are junkies of the worst kind.
For we as mortals are all raving, mad, uncouth, degenerates when it comes to the drug of “Why?”
And just as a drug gives a temporary distraction from reality, so also does our preoccupation for knowledge and our quest for answers stimulate us and distract us from accepting our lives as they are and have been handed to us.
“I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being
and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.”
Why this? Why that?
Why now? Why later?
Why him? Why me?
Why here? Why there?
YOU!!! YOU!!! YOU STRIPPED ME FROM MY HOME!!!
YOU!!!! YOU ROBBED ME OF MY HUSBAND!!!!
YOU STOLE FROM ME MY SONS!!!!!
YOU!!! YOU ABANDONED ME IN MOAB!!!!
YOU!!! O SOVEREIGN EVERLASTING COVENANT KEEPING BENEFICIENT EVER LOVING SYMPATHETIC GOD!!!!!!!!!
“And about the ninth hour
Jesus cried out
with a loud voice, saying…,
why have you forsaken me?’”