Monday, February 13, 2012

what God is doing for you

She stands in the kitchen, slumped shoulders, after a long day of school.  I’m upset, she says.  In the last class of the day the teacher left the room, and she watched two bullies picking on a weaker student, jabbing him in the ribs with cruel laughter.  The guy cried, hurt by the bullies but then embarrassed at his own response.  Her tears come, and I didn’t even do anything about it.  I see the pain in her eyes –a tender heart that feels the wound someone else has received.  I tell her it’s not too late.

The next day she performs a valiant act and informs the teacher.

I open an old book and read about two women.  Widows –helpless and alone in a male-dominant society.  Reliant on the kindness or cruelty of men who might offer the women food from their fields.

They just happen to return to this small town at the beginning of barley harvest.  The younger just happens to land in the field of a kind and generous man.  That man just happens to be a relative who could redeem her.

So she proposes marriage.  Unconventional.  Hopeful.

And he promises he will do what she has asked, fills her shawl with six full scoops of barley, and sends her back to her mother-in-law.

Then come the most powerful words in the whole book of Ruth.  Meanwhile Boaz…

The guy goes home from school.  Humiliated.  Miserable.  Meanwhile…  When he sags into his couch at home he has no idea there is a young woman thinking about him in her kitchen.  He has no idea God has filled her heart with compassion.  He can’t see her tears on his behalf or know that she is about to take action that will affect his life.

Meanwhile Boaz…

God has orchestrated the homecoming of the widows.  Bringing them to a place of kindness and redemption and provision.  And many years from now Ruth’s small little name will be listed in the lineage of the Great Redeemer.

Naomi says to Ruth, “Wait my daughter, until you find out what happens.”  Waiting for Boaz to act.  Trusting in the good and generous character he has shown so far.

The Bible is full of meanwhile.  The Israelites face the Philistines and Goliath…meanwhile David.  The Ethiopian reads the Scripture in his chariot, not understanding…meanwhile Philip.  Saul encounters Christ and sits blind for three days…meanwhile Ananias.  God taking action out of the line of vision.

When we belong to God we can tell our story of struggle and pain, finishing with the words meanwhile God…  We pray about the unknown and then take Naomi’s advice to “wait and see what happens”.  We have no idea what action God is taking as we speak.

(See Ruth 3:18 and 4:1.)

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