Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Illusion of Control (chapter 22)

AUTHOR NOTES
Read Ruth 4:13

        I’ve never heard a sermon about Ruth’s life being out of control, about all her helpless ups and downs, but I know she experienced them. She probably married Mahlon, Naomi’s son, when she was around fifteen years old. She experienced infertility with him, and by the time she was twenty-five, she’d already been thrown into the role of a childless widow. Then she left her homeland and moved to Bethlehem with her angry and bitter (but full of faith) mother-in-law. She knew deep poverty, hard work, and extreme risk. She also knew rescue, redemption, and romance. And then, God enabled her to conceive.
        A graph of Ruth’s life wasn’t level, peaceful, or anything close to "normal." It zigged and zagged with peaks and valleys, one right after another. We get so caught up with her romance and redemption that we often lose sight of the real Ruth, a woman full of heartaches, struggles, and questions. We also lose sight of the Lord, the one who conceived not only her story, but also the little life sprouting within her.

DISCUSSION QUESTION
(chapter 22 of Postcards From The Widows' Path)

Chart your life on the timeline below. Don’t worry about being exact. Just imagine you take a pencil, start at 0 for when you were born, and bring the line up for a happy event, level with the timeline for normal or uneventful times, and drop it down for hard times.

0____________25____________50____________75__________100 years

Do you have some peaks and valleys? 



It’s humbling to see this bird’s-eye view of life. We realize exactly how little control we have over what our lifeline looks like. We have very little say over the events that pattern our days or the monotony that flatlines them.

Sometimes the only way to get any sense of the whole thing is to see life as just that: a little series of hiccups and spasms on a scrap of paper. Imagine you take that scrap of paper, put it in your hand and wrap your fingers over it. 

Your hand is larger. Your hand is stronger. Just like God’s hand is so much larger and stronger than any of ours. When we put our life in Christ’s hand, he holds us, and the Father holds him. When we’re in God’s hands, our lives—every peak and every valley—are under control: God’s control!


PRAYER

Dear Lord,
Help me realize that when I asked you to come into my heart, you accepted me into yours. Nothing is out of control. Something much larger is going on, in you. Thank you for holding me; I am in you, and you are in me.
Amen.

(Excerpts from Postcards From The Widows' Path, pages 205,206,208,209)

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