They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This might be true in some cases. But on the flip side, pictures don’t always tell the whole story. When my sister moved into her home, she sent me a picture of what I like to call a reading nook. There was a chair that looked quite comfortable beside a small book shelf. My sister has a special talent when it comes to decorating, and this area of her home was no exception. To me it looked very cozy and inviting, a lovely place to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee.
However, I later learned that my sister’s house is not quiet, and reading can be difficult. When she told me this, I immediately thought of the picture. And I was reminded that what we see in a picture might be lacking in details.
But there is more to this story. My sister also told me that even though her house is far from quiet or peaceful, she attempts to create peaceful places in her home, and peaceful moments for herself and her family. And this led to the topic of how important it is to make room for God to do His work in our lives.
We will all face an array of blessings and trials in our lives. But if we try to greet each day with an open mind and a willing heart, this can help transform the story we are walking through.
I love the story of Ruth, found in the Bible. Ruth’s husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law had all died. The only members remaining in her household, in the region of Moab, were her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, was from Bethlehem, and she decided to return home. She encouraged her two daughters-in-law to stay behind, as they were originally from Moab. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, did return to her family. But Ruth did not. She wanted to stay with Naomi.
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’” – Ruth 1:16-17
After arriving in Bethlehem, they lived near a man named Boaz, who was a relative on Naomi’s late husband’s side. Ruth would go to his fields and pick up leftover grain that the workers dropped. One day Boaz saw her doing this. After learning who she was, he encouraged her to continue, and he even told his workers to intentionally leave some stalks of grain for her (Ruth 2:1-16). Well, to make a short story shorter, Boaz and Ruth wound up getting married. They then had a son, who would be King David’s grandfather. (If you are not familiar with the story of Ruth, you can read it all here.)
I find this story to be a beautiful one. The path could not have been easy for Ruth, as she lost her husband and left her homeland. But instead of being bitter, she made space in her life for God to work. And in the end, God transformed her story of heartache into a masterpiece. Not only was Ruth’s son part of David’s family line, but he was part of Jesus’s family line too.
Ruth’s story, and my sister’s situation in her home, both remind me to embrace the things that come my way, whether good or bad. As children of God, we can rest assured knowing that everything that happens in our lives, He allowed. And He has a purpose and a plan for it all. If we live with an open heart, He can take each seemingly ugly situation and turn it into something beautiful. He can turn our stories into works of art, when we decide to allow God to work in our lives.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas