Friday, May 1, 2020

Reflections on Mother's Day (Pt 4)


Hebrews 11:1-3, 6
[1] Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [2] For by it the people of old received their commendation. [3] By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
[6] And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

It is in the midst of crisis that our faith shows whether it is genuine. Job’s faith was validated when he lost everything. In the book of Ruth, Naomi’s faith proved genuine after losing her husband and her sons. Her faith was demonstrated in at least three ways. First, she didn’t fight against God or accuse him. She submitted to what she saw as the discipline of God. On her return home she responded to the greeting of the women with these words, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Ruth 1:20-21). . Perhaps she reasoned that this was the result of moving to Moab when God would have had them stay in Judah. There is no indication of blame or complaint, simply an acceptance of God’s discipline

Second, Naomi demonstrated trust in the faithfulness of God. The name she uses for God throughout the book of Ruth is LORD (YHWH). It is the covenant name of God that indicates that he is the God who always keeps his word. When Ruth told Naomi whose field she had been gleaning in, Naomi responded, “May he be blessed by the LORD, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi saw the kindness of Boaz as a demonstration of God’s kindness and faithfulness. She trusted the faithfulness of God.

Third, Naomi recognized the sovereignty of God. She submitted to his discipline in chapter 1. She recognized his provision in chapter 2. She waited patiently in chapter 3. She saw God’s blessing in chapter 4. Whether in good or in bad, in loss or in blessing,  Naomi recognized the sovereignty of God in all that was done.

It is easy to trust God when everything is going well. But it is the dark times in life that reveal what kind of faith we really have. I am always a little nervous about a new book written about parenting, especially if it is written by a young parent with one or two compliant children. I am more interested in a book written by someone with a several children, at least one of which could never, in anyone’s wildest imagination, be considered compliant. If they survived parenthood and their adult children are walking with the Lord then I think they might be worth reading. Their parenting skills were tested by fire. Similarly, those who have never struggled, never questioned, never doubted, never had to face the dark night of the soul, those people have little to say to us about faith. If faith is easy then it’s not faith. Faith is what we grip onto and don’t let go of when nothing in life makes sense. Faith is what we exercise when our world falls apart. Faith grows deep and strong in trials and difficulties of life. That is the kind of faith Naomi had.

George Mueller said, “To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”[1] That was the kind of faith Naomi had. It was that kind of faith that reproduced itself in Ruth. That is the kind of faith to which God has called us. If you do not trust him in the dark times then you do not trust him at all. Faith is not faith until it is tested. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).


[1]. http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-faith-20-popular-scripture-quotes/, accessed May 5, 2016.

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