Ruth had recently come with Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law, from the land of Moab. She was an impoverished stranger in a strange land, just hoping to eke out an existence. God had told Israel that they shouldn’t pick their fields clean in the harvest but leave the droppings and the edges for the poor to glean. That’s what Ruth was hoping to do – to find a field, any field, where she could get permission to glean enough for her and Naomi to survive a few days.
She found a field and she “happened” to come to a part of the field owned by a man named Boaz. She just “happened” to come there. At least that would have been how Ruth saw it. Little did she know, but someday, this “random” happening would lead to her becoming the wife of Boaz, and an ancestor of king David, and Jesus himself.
We can see that this is God’s providence. God was directing her every step. Years earlier, Naomi and her husband “happened” to decide to move to Moab, where they “happened” to meet Ruth, who “happened” to marry their son. Years later, forced by poverty, Naomi and Ruth “happened” to return to Israel, and now Ruth “happened” to come to a particular field.
How many times in our lives do we just “happen” to go somewhere or meet someone and later find out it was God’s wonderful providence? Yesterday as I preached, I saw a family sitting there who years ago, just “happened” to move next door to another family in our church, who invited them to a dinner where they heard the gospel and eventually got saved.
You didn’t just “happen” to meet your husband or wife. You didn’t just “happen” to wind up living where you live. You didn’t just “happen” to join your church. God has been directing your every step.
And life isn’t just “happening” to you. You may work under a miserable boss. You may be going through tough times. You may have just been told you need a hip replacement or have a serious sickness. That unexpected tax bill, that transfer to another job, that tree that fell on your garage… you get the idea. Nothing just “happens” to us. God may have transferred you so you’d meet someone you will share the good news of Jesus with. That tree that crushed your garage? The tree service foreman may someday lead the Children’s Ministry in your church.
The next time you ask, “Why is this happening to me?” remember God’s loving providence. He has you right where he wants you, for your good and his glory. Nothing just happens to us. Not a sparrow falls apart from God’s will. He hand crafts every snowflake and lightning bolt. Our blessings and our afflictions are tailor-made by the loving hand of God.
Keep an eye out for God’s providences in your life. Someday you will say, “Oh, so THAT’S why that happened.” It didn’t seem so good at the time, but if THAT hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be enjoying THIS blessing right now.
And heaven will be the grand review of all God’s providences in our lives. Seeing how God orchestrated events and lives to bring you into the world, and bring you to Jesus and transform and use you for his glory. What an incredible day that will be.
From the pen of Mark Altrogge, Pastor of the Sovereign Grace Church.
Today, being St Valentine’s Day, Mark’s writings seem very appropriate.
I personally empathise with the whole question of ‘happenings’ – for I know that it was not by mere chance alone that my wife, Marlene, and I ‘happened’ to meet each other via the internet, and that we just ‘happened’ to get married – and that because we were living together after our marriage Marlene ‘happened’ to save my life when I was very seriously ill a year ago.
For I know that God has a special plan for Marlene and I and, for that, He needed me to be living an earthly life.
We may not always be able to ‘look round corners’ but providing we;-
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey
the purpose for all our ‘happenings’ will be revealed unto us!