Are you usually looking for the straight path to your destination? Even in your walk with the Lord, are you expecting the road to be pretty direct and straight? I’m not sure about your perspective (please leave your thoughts below) but I’ve expected the pathway that I walked with God to be pretty direct. Of course I realized that it wasn’t always smooth or trouble free, but I thought it would be straight.
Last Sunday, my eyes were opened to a new concept while listening to our Pastor’s Sunday teaching. He began with a phrase that stuck with me all week and presented a new revelation about that path. He said, “The Christian life isn’t a straight line but a beautiful switchback declaring the Glory of God.” Pastor Jeff, our senior pastor used this in connection with the book of Ruth which we have been examining throughout the month.
Naomi’s life was anything but a straight path to the final redemption portrayed through Boaz and Ruth’s relationship. Besides being filled with potholes, her life took many twists and turns that produced hardship and loss. Leaving Israel with her husband and sons because of a famine, they settled in the pagan land of Moab–the land of plenty. There her husband, Elimelech, died and her two sons married Moabite women. Not exactly God’s direction for the Israelites.
At times, we make the same type of decisions. Decisions which seem to make sense. Decisions which seem like they will lead us on a straight and direct path for us or our families. But what seems straight in our eyes often turns crooked. I remember the morning I got a late start in getting my son to school. (I have a bad habit of cutting time too close.) In order to make up for my delay and attempt to get my son in before the tardy bell rang, I decided to take a short cut. I whipped through a residential neighborhood where everyone would still be in their homes, I thought. I exceeded the speed limit (against God’s directions), saw an angry homeowner shaking her fist at me as I swerved around the bend, and then the blinking lights glowed in my rear view mirror. My son did not make it to school on time that day.
My road took a crooked bend much like Naomi’s. But not all crooked bends are caused by our own actions. Curves and trials, not of our own making, tumble into our lives. Through it all though, God is still leading us, providing for us, and redeeming us.
When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, they were welcomed by friends. When the women called her Naomi, she said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Lord has dealt bitterly with me. Naomi remembered her husband had a relative, Boaz, who owned barley fields. Ruth asked Naomi to let her go glean from those fields to provide food for them. Later, through some conniving on Naomi’s part, Boaz welcomed Ruth to be his wife. Ruth bore a son for Boaz and He was named Obed. The joyous women of the village said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!” Ruth’s son was viewed ad Naomi’s redeemer from all of her troubles. This Scripture points to the ultimate Redeemer. Obed fathered Jesse who became the father of David. And from David’s line came Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Our stories in life take twists and turns. Sometimes, it feels like we’ve slid to the edge, gripping on with all of our might. Then the road levels out and we rest alongside a life-giving stream growing tall trees that provide shade until the next hairpin turn. But in the end, Our Redeemer still holds us to Himself. And through Jesus’ life-giving blood, we have hope along the rocky, crooked switchbacks of life.
From My Heart to Yours,
Linking with Mary Geisen #TellHisStory linkup