While on a mission trip in the Cayman Islands, I witnessed the devastating effects of hurricanes. Even though the last hurricane passed through ten months prior, crumbled buildings still lay where they’d fallen. People told us stories of storm shelters collapsing, forcing them to wade through waist-deep water to find safety.
Another hurricane struck the islands while we were there. Since the people on my team were ignorant college kids from the Midwest, we decided it would be neat to go out on the boat dock during the storm (not my best choice, I’ll admit). The hurricane was considered “minor,” but I’ll never forget the power of the wind as it shoved us backward and flung patio furniture around. It was an experience that left a deep impression on me.
More recently, while I was traveling in South Dakota, I collided with a big storm system. It was nerve-wracking driving across completely flat plains while dark clouds lowered ominously. Rain, hail, and sleet followed me as I drove across the state.
The storms of life are just as frightening and unpredictable.
They hover over us with the same dark menace, promising trouble and uncertainty.
Living in a sinful, fallen world means we are all going to have storms. As Christian women, though, we are also guaranteed that we are never alone in our trials. God walks with us and redeems even the worst moments.
One biblical example of this was Ruth. In the book of Ruth, chapter 1, we read about how she and her mother-in-law, Naomi, both lost their husbands. In biblical times, widowhood was about the most difficult situation a woman could find herself in. A poor widow in a foreign land, like Naomi, was in an even worse situation. Both these women faced a storm of epic proportions.
Despite this, we see God weave a beautiful story from the tragedy.
First, Ruth made the powerful choice to stay with Naomi-
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” Ruth 1:16, 17
Ruth’s very foundations were shaken, but these oft-quoted words show her to be a woman of grace, loyalty, and strength. She lost her husband, left her own family behind, and yet willingly assumed sole responsibility for her mother-in-law. God was clearly at work in Ruth’s heart.
Chapter 2 continues with God leading Ruth to the fields of her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. Not only did He provide food for the two women, but He brought Ruth to the one man who could help them. Boaz noticed Ruth’s hard work and her care of her mother-in-law. He became first her protector and then her husband.
As for Naomi, God didn’t neglect her, either. He redeemed her story through the birth of Ruth’s first son.
Then the women 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! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Ruth 4: 14, 15
God’s name is barely mentioned in the book of Ruth, but His handiwork is woven throughout. We can see that every aspect of their lives was perfectly directed by God. He didn’t allow their storms to tear Ruth and Naomi apart; instead, they accomplished God’s purposes and plans for them. He made their stories beautiful.
The storms helped shape them into the women God meant them to be.
I wish I could promise you a happy ending just as wonderful as Ruth’s and Naomi’s. I would love to be able to tell you that every storm passes quickly and you will be able to resume normalcy. Some trials follow us through life, however.
Like Ruth, God is still at work in your life, carefully fashioning you into a woman after His own heart. He will take all your broken pieces and put you together again, stronger and more beautiful. He will refine you through the storm.
This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of a God who redeems our trials. He is the One who gives purpose to every aspect of our lives. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!