– I’m sure I’m not the only one to “go through,” or to experience disappointment, heartaches or broken dreams. But I have faith and I am sure that my God is, and is a present help in time of trouble and is near to the brokenhearted. God has His way and His plan in such times, and we His believers must trust and obey for Him perform what He promised for us in due season. — Josephus-Joppa
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
“Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.” -Ruth 1:3-5
Naomi’s life was going well. A great husband. Two fine sons who had two wonderful wives. Then the unthinkable happened. Her husband died. A little time later both her sons die. Her and her daughter-in-laws find themselves in the midst of shattered dreams. This isn’t how life was supposed to be.
How did Naomi react to her situation? “…for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” (Ruth 1:13) Ah, we see her true feelings about the situation. “How could a loving God let this happen?!” “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21)
Mara means bitter. She knew where she was. She was bitter toward this so called God of love. “How can I possibly reconcile this?!” No life insurance. No widow’s fund. “What is going to happen to me and my daughters?”
The Bible says the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Naomi and Ruth move to a community where some of her relatives lived. Ruth goes out to work in the fields to put food on the table. She just so happens to work in the field of a wealthy farmer named Boaz. When Ruth tells her this the first ray of hope penetrates her bitter heart. Even she can recognize the hand of God.
So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz. Then Naomi said to her daughter-in law, ‘Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!'” (Ruth 2:19-20).
Hebrew custom was for the next in kin to care for the widow in the family. Boaz was to be this man. He would eventually marry Ruth. She would bare a son, Obed. He would be the father of Jesse, the father of David. Jesus would come from the same lineage.
Shattered dreams often lead to a world-impacting destiny. But getting there is often a process where we must work through honest feelings before we can see the God who redeems even the most devastating shattered dream.
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
Life is filled with disappointments. Many of God’s greatest servants experienced deep disappointment in their journeys of faithfulness to God. Joseph, after spending years as a slave and in jail for crimes that he did not commit, revealed deep disappointment when he was forgotten another two years in prison. John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ because he was sitting there awaiting his death. Elijah, losing all hope and despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and Peter, who left his fishing business and invested three years of his life only to watch his Savior crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.
When life doesn’t add up, it leaves the heart sick. When we have done all we know to do and the formula has not worked, it leaves us questioning. These are times that try the very souls of men. There is no human sense to be made of it. We are left with a choice: to cling or not to cling. There are times when holding on to our Master’s robe is all that we can do. It is all that He wants us to do.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore,
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before-
A path to higher destinies!
There is only one answer to life’s disappointments. Like the psalmist, we must “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 62:5-6).
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.