A Quiet Life

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…

1 Thessalonians 4:11

What kind of reaction do these words create in you? For me, the opposite of quiet is noise, and in these times, we could describe our human experience as very noisy, no? If it isn’t the election news calling for my attention, it’s COVID news; if it isn’t news, it’s social media; if it isn’t social media, it’s my WhatsApp and email inboxes; if it’s not on my phone or computer, it’s my home, and believe me, my home is noisy!

All of this noise – for now, we can say neither good nor bad, just noise – is overwhelming, right? Is it just me? My days can feel chaotic, my mind a war zone, my attention so divided that no one entity gets what it needs, particularly those who need it most. While in decades and centuries past, it may have been more natural to lead quiet lives, it is anything but natural now. To lead a quiet life takes determination, intention, and even work.

And yet, as the noise increases each year, my desire for a quiet life increases along with it. We all talk of COVID fatigue, of election fatigue, of social media fatigue, and then there’s just normal physical and emotional fatigue. Truly, I don’t think our capacity as image bearers of God is to carry so much noise in our hearts, minds, and bodies. And, I wonder, does it not impact our ability to “love one another”? To “win the respect of outsiders”? To “not be dependent on anybody, or as other versions say, “not be in any need”?

It’s difficult to “not be in any need” when your inbox is flooded with curated advertisements highlighting your very interests, when we see dozens of commercials each week, when we follow many small and large businesses or influencers on social media pointing our attention toward the.next.thing. How often do we pause and consider, “do I actually need this?” Likely, if we did, the answer would be obviously, no. We have so much already that we need to read books on how to get rid of it; minimalism, which was once how most people lived, is now a trend; truly, when we slow down and consider deeply, there is very little we need. But it takes quiet to realize this.

It’s likewise difficult to “win the respect of outsiders” when our lives are so full that we rarely even talk with them; when Facebook or other platforms have become the medium for important conversations but rarely an effective one; when all outsiders are being portrayed to us as the enemies of our freedoms or values and we’ve forgotten that Jesus even said to love our enemies. What has happened to Christian witness in our times? It’s been slowly, methodically destroyed as we show the world how we can compromise, how we can be selfish, and how we can continually fail to love. But it takes quiet to see this.

And though it is wildly unpopular, I deeply trust that God’s way of life is far better than that of the world.

And it’s difficult to “love one another” when we haven’t a spare moment to give to each other; when we can’t set our phones down long enough to look our children or spouse in the eyes; when we haven’t noticed the needs of those in our neighborhood or church because we weren’t really looking. It takes quiet to do this.

More than ever, this appeal to a quiet life calls to me. Not only because as a human being, I realize I am not made to sustain the kind of noise the world is creating, but also because I realize I need it in order to live the kind of life to which God has called me. And though it is wildly unpopular, I deeply trust that God’s way of life is far better than that of the world.

When You Are Weary

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

There’s much this year that’s wearying, isn’t there? 2020 is one of those years that we will talk about with our kids and grandkids for the next several decades – but we’re still in the middle of it. What’s particularly unique about this year is that we are all experiencing versions of the same struggles. No one is exempt. The upside of this is that we are all in it together. I don’t know about you, but I find this comforting.

Throughout the last few months, I have heard most people in my life at some point share that they’ve had enough; it’s getting to them; they are fed up/worn out/weary of the hardships of this year. Because of the ongoing nature of the pandemic, of the racial tension, of the politicization, we are hitting this point more than once, perhaps. I know I have.

If you’re in this place now, what does it look like to “throw off everything that hinders”? How do we “fix our eyes on Jesus” so that we “will not grow weary and lose heart”? Here are a few ideas:

+ put away media // The balance between being informed and being overwhelmed by media these days is one very fine line. It may be healthy to resist the urge to check the news daily for a period of time. If anything major happens, ask your spouse or friend to share it with you. Otherwise, the mental space you’ll gain from a media break is worth the short-term ignorance, particularly if you’re feeling weary.

+ get outside // Could you spend one whole hour outside today? Maybe two or three? Take the kids to a nature preserve, pack a picnic, and leave your phone at home. Walk a long trail, pick flowers, lay on your back and look up at the shades of blue in the sky. Nature is healing. Seeing God’s handiwork with intention is healing.

+ confess sin // Has it been awhile since you brought your worries, your fears, your open heart to God? Since you’ve asked him to reveal the ugly attitudes, the prevalent discontent, the deep-seated selfishness? Taking a few moments to sort out our hearts before Christ and to confess the sin found there is an act of obedience and restorative to our souls.

+ look for beauty // When the world is looking ugly and bleak, look up. Look out. Look at the moon, the stars. Look at the variety of trees, at the birds, at your children, the color of their eyes. Look in a good book, look in Scripture. Look in your relationships, look in your church. Look in your food – how many colors are there? Open your eyes wider to the beauty in your everyday world.

+ put away technology // We are brilliant multitaskers, aren’t we? We can cook dinner, listen to a podcast, check Instagram, mhmm to our children, and respond to a text all in a minute’s time. This isn’t the best for a myriad of reasons, but for now, can you identify how you feel in the midst of that? Is there a twitchiness? A elevated stress level? What if you put the phone away for a few hours, for a whole day? What if you aimed to get your screen time to under an hour a day? Not only for the sake of your home, your children, and your spouse, but for you? I guarantee that with reduced technology use your mind will clear a bit; the fogginess will lift slightly, your eyes become more trained to see beauty. And it’s glorious.

+ focus your eyes on Christ // In my experience, a lack of peace, a world weariness is directly correlated with where my eyes and heart are focused. Not surprising, is it? When my days are filled with social media, with the news, with multitasking, my mind is a busy space, a restless space, flitting from thought to thought, to new ideas, to old memories, and there is little peace or rest. But once we’ve put away the news, and the technology, we use those pauses, those little captured moments to look to Christ – in nature, while on a walk, in our kids’ hearts, while washing the dishes. We read the Scriptures well placed throughout the house, we reflect on the morning’s devotions, we commune with Christ in prayer, and our souls are refreshed.

Consider him… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:3

A friend articulated recently that what is particularly hard about this year is that we don’t know when these struggles are going to end – how long do we have to “hang in there” for? It’s a long haul, but we can shake off the weariness with intention, looking collectively for the beauty, encouraging each other to fix our eyes on Christ. We’ll get through this.

On Empathy

We have all lost things in the last several months; some losses are far greater than others. But surely we can all relate, we can all “understand and share the feelings” (defining empathy) of others in this time. On some level, at least?

I know everyone is tired of this pandemic. I know you are itching to get out of your house, for your kids to go back to school, for more businesses to open, for life to resume to as “normal” as possible in the wake of such a global catastrophe. I know it’s felt like a long stretch.

To be frank, I am not concerned with your particular opinion about the seriousness of COVID-19, or how countries ought to be handling it, or if face masks are effective. I am not saying these things should not be discussed, or that your opinions don’t matter, but this is what I am saying:

Where is the empathy? Where is the Christ-likeness?

Christians, if you call yourself one, this means your life has been radically changed by the love of Jesus. You’ve recognized the depth of your sin, and the depth of your need for redemption. You have encountered Jesus and his overwhelming love and mercy at some point in your life, and have intellectually and emotionally understood that his sacrifice on the cross has cancelled your debt of sin against God, has removed your shame, and has conquered fear, even fear of death. Praise God!

Having been changed by his love, we are then compelled to live our lives marked by the same love that motivated Jesus – God’s own love. Is this what our lives are about? When others witness our lives, are they witnessing Jesus’ love embodied? When they read our Facebook pages or scroll our Instagram accounts, are they struck by our gentle love and kind understanding?

Regardless of at what rate people have died, or what they have died from, people have died. Some, many, have lost loved ones. Regardless of whether it was the right decision for governments to lockdown, or recommend people to stay home, people have lost their jobs. Some, many, are struggling financially. Some, many, don’t even have enough food to eat. Regardless of your particular opinion of these current events, people have lost freedoms.

Looking at Jesus, I’m struck by his example of gentle love and kind understanding, of empathy.

“I have compassion on the crowd because… they have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way” (Matthew 15:32). Jesus knew hunger, as he ate nothing for forty days.

When the scribes and the Pharisees brought Jesus an adulterous woman, he instructed “him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” When none did, Jesus looked at her and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?… Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (from John 8:1-11). Jesus knew condemnation, as he bore it billion-fold on our behalf.

When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, both sisters Mary and Martha asked him why he allowed him to die. Jesus speaks to Martha, confronts her with the truth that “I am the resurrection and the life.” When Mary asks the same question, Jesus weeps. He who is going to, in a matter of minutes, command life back into his dead friend, is deeply broken and hurting (from John 11). Jesus knew grief, as he was a “man of sorrows” (Is. 53:3) and bore it for us on the cross.

And as if his ministry to this point was not sufficient enough, Jesus walked in steady obedience to his Father to the cross, through scorn and shame, through torture and mocking, to death. Jesus knew death, and bore it willingly for us.

Jesus lived a fully human life, filled with every sort of human experience, and from it, ministered perfectly to those around him based upon their spiritual needs. While we cannot minister perfectly like Jesus, we can seek to follow his example in a time of crisis such as we know now. This is how the church can have a mighty impact in these times. This is how we can reflect the love of Jesus to those who don’t know him. This is how we can love each other right now.

Much has been lost. Are we concerned for those who have been experiencing great loss, or are we busy arguing for our opinion on these issues? Are we, as the body of Christ, “rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15)?

Do we have empathy in these times?

Our Suffering is not Unique

We are several months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us have been “staying at home,” or in some form of lockdown for over a month now, some longer. These are strange times, difficult times, and we all know people who have suffered greatly because of this pandemic. We have suffered too: there are many losses, financial strain, anxiety and fear.

But our suffering is not unique.

We hear that these are unprecedented times, that our world will change forever, that things will never be the same. We read an over-abundance of information about our present day circumstances. We struggle to understand whom to trust, what information is accurate and unbiased, whose agenda we agreed with most. We deliberate over many judgment calls.

My point is not to undermine our suffering; my aim is to remind us that we join arms with many before us who have suffered greatly too. We would do well to think on the suffering of others throughout the course of history, to find encouragement in their stories of faithfulness; to limit our media intake, which promotes negativity and an obsession with our current time and crisis; and to continue pursuing Christian community in a time when it’s especially challenging.

My point is not to undermine our suffering; my aim is to remind us that we join arms with many before us who have suffered greatly too.

If we are consumed with our current day suffering, we cannot fix our eyes on Christ. If we are convinced that our suffering is unique, we are collectively self-centered. There are many reasons why we should choose to focus our minds on faith in Christ, on the faithfulness of God as he fulfills his promises, and not on the fear that we are tempted to experience during a worldwide pandemic. If we are to remain faithful as believers, and if our witness as a church is to proclaim peace and hope in a mighty God, we must actively live in faith rather than fear.

But… how?

Practically speaking, how do we choose faith over fear? How to we reject the narrative that our suffering is unique? Here are some suggestions that have been helping me lately.

+ take a spiritual, emotional, mental assessment

Let’s slow down, turn off all the “noise” and ask God to reveal to us what we are battling with. Why are you afraid? What is it that is making me fearful? Is it my health, or the health of my loved ones? Is it the financial strain that has hit, or is inevitably coming? Is it that people have said “life will never be the same” and the unknown is scary? Is it that I’m not sure I can do one more day with my kids at home running crazy, and yet I have a whole summer in front of me?

I encourage you to dust off the journal, and pour out your heart before God. Ask him to make plain your fears, your anxieties, your disappointments, your griefs. Jesus is our friend in grief, a lesson I have been learning for a few years. Pour out your heart to him, sit at his feet and rest in his love. It will do wonders for your weary, fearful soul.

+ reflect on history, and God’s faithfulness over the course of time

I’m sure many of you have seen this article reminding us of C.S. Lewis’ wise words written during a time when the threat of an atomic bomb was emerging. While the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique trial of our time, it is certainly not the first, nor likely the last, of it’s kind. Whether it be past pandemics, wars, economic or social strife, natural disasters, or any other crisis, our faith in an eternal God transcends the current event of 2020. Christians throughout history have sought to be faithful through hardships to a faithful God.

There are so many examples. Reread the stories of Noah, of Moses, of Joseph, of David, of the prophets. Many biblical characters experienced nationwide suffering on account of famine, war, persecution, enslavement. Many others experienced very difficult personal circumstances, and their stories have much to teach us too. Read Corrie ten Boom and her story of living as Christian during the Holocaust. Or read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes, or something by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship is a classic). Choose a Puritan writer. There are many over the course of history who’ve written honestly and brutally about suffering and faithfulness. These stories would encourage us again now.

+ limit media

I’m not the only one saying this, but there’s an overwhelming amount of media, mostly relatively negative, on the current state of our world. While it is important to keep up on a basic level so that we are informed, know how to behave and pray, we would do well to limit our time reading the news and engaging in social media. When we are reading constantly about predictions based upon worst case scenarios or data, we fail to take into account that we serve a God who is greater than this pandemic. His power and authority are not factored into the major news sources and so we are tempted to think the results are left to human experts. It’s worth saying again: God is greater than this pandemic!

We have the ability to choose the amount of media we consume, and this choice will directly affect our overall mindset.

We have the ability to choose the amount of media we consume, and this choice will directly affect our overall mindset. Check in once a day, or less, to keep updated. Then turn off the “noise” and use your time toward more holistic pursuits.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is brett-wisdom_pyramid-freebies-white-full.png
source: https://www.brettmccracken.com/blog/2017/8/3/the-wisdom-pyramid

Brett McCracken developed this pyramid three years ago: in this time “where we are bombarded by a glut of content and information but have so little wisdom, I think we need guidance on healthier habits of knowledge intake. We need a wisdom pyramid. We need to think about what sorts of “knowledge groups,” and in what proportion, feed a healthy life of true wisdom and true joy” (read full article here). His whole article is worth a read, and it is a worthwhile use of our time to ask these questions of our knowledge sources.

+ do not neglect community

Churches have been amazingly resourceful on the fly during this pandemic, and have provided all sorts of virtual support through online services, opportunities for counseling, Zoom (or WhatsApp in our case) small group meetings, etc. Meeting together online at the same time on Sunday does not, however, replace real life fellowship with believers – the body of Christ. In this time when we cannot or do not often see people in our communities, we still need to be intentional about pursuing community.

What does that look like during a pandemic? Checking in on each other. Making real phone calls. Sending cards, or ecards. Dropping off a bag of groceries or a meal. Sending emails. Reaching out particularly to the lonely. Not just to say “hi,” but to ask the deeper questions of:

  • how are you coping?
  • are you sleeping at night?
  • are you in the Word?
  • how can I support you?

The body of Christ needs each other, and all the more during a worldwide crisis. We are purposed to “bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2), and it just so happens that we collectively share a huge burden currently. If we neglect the fellowship of believers now, we will emerge from this weary, broken, and beaten down.

Look to Christ…and rejoice.

So, we reject that our suffering is unique, but look to the past, to the throngs of other faithful believers, and ultimately to Christ who experienced humanity’s deepest suffering on account of us. We choose to live in faith that God has got this, and not in fear. We are actively “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

And we cling to hope: “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

What to Do in the Waiting

Are you in the midst of waiting on something, someone? Have you petitioned God for a specific need, and not yet received an answer? Maybe it has been days, months, or even years.

If so, you’re in good company. Most of us are waiting for some specific answers to prayer – for a family member to know Christ, for a friend to be healed, for a child’s heart to change, for our own hearts to change, for direction, for clarity. I know we are not alone as we wait on our own answers for what God has in store for our family.

What I have found difficult is the question of what to do in the waiting. Does trusting God mean doing nothing? I don’t believe so. Perhaps even more so in seasons like this, there are definite things I have realized I need to be doing in order to wait in peace and with faithfulness. These are a few small actions I have found helpful in our limbo season:

1. Pray for my posture

Yes, we have covered the specific item we are needing in prayer, we have had many others praying with us, and we keep praying for resolution. But to pray for my own heart, for the peace of God to settle in my heart, for my mind to be fixed on Christ and not on my situation – I have needed to be careful not to neglect these aspects of prayer. That in my season of waiting, my heart and mind are correctly lifted toward God, that my posture is worshipful.

One of my favorites promises is found in Isaiah 26, “you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” [v. 3]. It seems like every day there are many distractions that pull my mind away from Christ, that demand my focus. When I find myself particularly anxious about my situation, it is usually because I have not been fixing my mind on Christ. Especially in this season, I have needed to cling to God in prayer, to keep my mind stayed on him.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3

2. Reflect on the character of God

How has God taken care of our needs in the past? How has he strengthened us through different seasons of difficulty, of waiting? Reflecting on how he has cared for us personally, and on his unchanging character, will strengthen us in our current seasons.

I don’t know about you, but in a waiting season like this, I realize my own weaknesses and limits in new ways. Jen Wilkin touches on what it means to be image-bearing children of God, “it means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God. Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out.” [None Like Him -I recommend this whole book if you’re looking to reflect on God’s character].

When we see our own limitations more clearly, it ought to prompt us to worship God for his completely sufficient and unchanging character. While everything around us may be changing, he never will. 

Fixing our gaze on his character, rather than our situation, is worshipful.

Years ago, while walking through a dark season with a friend, I remember hearing JJ Heller’s song Who You Are where she sings, “sometimes I don’t know, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are.” What beautiful hope! We often don’t know the plans of God, or what he is doing in our life or the lives of others, but thankfully we can know who he is. Fixing our gaze on his character, rather than our situation, is worshipful.

3. Lament with hope

There can be this sense in our Christian communities that discouragement is not allowed; that it is unspiritual to be downcast. That one who is trusting in God never wavers. Thankfully, a good portion of the book of Psalms teaches us just what godly lament looks like. Over and over, David and other psalm writers cry out to God in their discouragement, in their distress, asking for his deliverance, for him to come through for them again… and they wait.

Multiple times between Psalm 42 and 43 the writer cries, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” [Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5]. David writes in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” Friends, we can cry out to our God, who is full of compassion toward his children, who knows of our pain, of our discouragement, and who offers comfort in the midst of it.

In our lament, we cling to hope. We are not ones to cry out to God with forsaken hearts, but with expectant ones, looking in hope for what God will do for us. David continues in Psalm 40:2-3, “he drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” We have good reason to wait with great hope.

4. Cling to the promises of God

Several weeks ago, our pastor preached on the book of Joshua, and encouraged us that God is faithful to keep his promises. In fact, Joshua 21:45 says, “not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” What an encouragement! What a faithful God we serve!

This prompted me anew to make a list of “the good promises that the Lord had made” to me. How can I cling to them if I don’t even know what they are? Years ago, I had memorized quite a few, but this season called for new reflection. Here are a few that I have been clinging to lately:

+ God’s sufficient grace: “”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” [2 Cor. 12:9]

+ God’s never-ceasing love and mercy: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” [Lam. 3:22-23]

+ God’s guidance and protection: “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” [Is. 58:11]
“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” [Psalm 18:28-30]

I would challenge you to spend time in God’s word, reflecting on what he has promised, and make a list for yourself. Cling to these good promises of God!


At some point, this particular season of waiting will likely end, and we look forward to that time. While we are still waiting, though, I am thankful for the opportunities to turn my gaze again and again to Christ, to be more deeply sanctified, and to learn anew what it is to trust him.

originally published on Dec. 3, 2019

God’s Kindness Through His Providence (Ruth 2)

Squaring her shoulders to the road at dawn, Ruth set out with determination. Here she was, in a new country, with new people, a new culture. She must provide for her mother-in-law, Naomi, or Mara, meaning bitter, as she’d asked to be called.

Ruth glanced to the left, and to the right. She knew she was vulnerable. Not only was she a woman, but she was a foreign woman. She knew how Israelites generally felt about Moabites. They were, after all, not on good terms, for centuries. Did she pray to Naomi’s God, the God of Israel, to ask for his favor this day? For protection?

The sun was fully over the horizon now. She observed a field in the distance. How would she know who might let her glean, or who would chase her out? She would have to take a chance. Heart-pounding, she approached the field, and noticed a man on the far side. Would he take advantage of her? There were no others around yet this day. Would he look kindly on her?

Boaz made his way through his fields as he did every morning; scanning in the distance, he observed his healthy field and whispered gratitude to Yahweh for his provision yet again. Then his gaze settled on something, someone, who didn’t look like one of his hired workers, or one of the other women who regularly gleaned in his field. He walked over to his field manager, and inquired about this new woman in his fields.

Ah yes, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, he understood. He knew the women had made their way back from Moab, as the whole town was abuzz with their return and the new Moabitess. He had heard of their ill-fortune, of the deaths of Naomi’s husband and sons. He had heard of all that this young woman had done for her mother-in-law, how she left her native land and her father and mother. How lucky for her that she made her way to my fields, he thought as he approached her.

Naomi waited anxiously for Ruth to return. Should she have ventured out alone, a foreign woman, new to town? Maybe she should have urged Ruth to wait, rather than give her permission to go looking for a field to glean. Wait for what? Naomi thought. More hardship?

In the distance, Naomi spotted her, hunched over with a great weight, but with a spring in her step. Ruth approached, and dropped her huge bundle of gleaned wheat in front of Naomi’s feet. She handed her a parcel of food left from lunch, and wiped her brow. Naomi couldn’t believe her eyes – the provision of food, the clear favor Ruth had found in the eyes of someone. “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi exclaimed.

What a difference, from the woman who had asked to be called Mara, whom the Lord had “brought back empty” (Ruth 1:21). The Lord had not forgotten them, he had not left them. Quite the opposite, actually. How he had providentially cared for them! That Ruth would find the field of Boaz, a kinsman redeemer no less (more on that later)! That he would look kindly on her, that he would care for her, that he would provide for her and Naomi. That Ruth, having left everything in Moab to follow Naomi and her God to Bethlehem, had found refuge under the wings of the Lord (2:12).

The Lord’s lovingkindness had not forsaken them. Rather, it was providentially at work through the events of the lives of Ruth and Naomi, up to this point in our story. We have the benefit of knowing the life-changing impact of God’s providence that day, when Ruth and Boaz met, that God would eventually bring the salvation of the world through the family line of these ordinary people.

Providence is “God’s seeing to everything.”


Have you considered that God’s kindness is providentially at work in your life? That the events of your life, the good and the bad, are ordained by the God who loves you with an unending hesed? Can you see it?

John Piper paraphrases the idea of God’s providence in this way: “it is God’s seeing to everything.” All the purposes that he has he will accomplish, from a kingdom perspective: “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish my purpose’” (Is. 46:9-10), and also in our individual lives: “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

When we see God’s providential hand at work, for our good and his glory, how do we respond? In praise, with gratitude, to the God who does not forsake us, but rather demonstrates his lovingkindness to us again and again.