Earlier this week, the Holy Spirit used the book of Ruth to minister deeply to my soul. To see afresh the sovereignty of God revealed in such a subtle, beautiful way it rightly accentuated my smallness and God’s bigness. Is God really working all things after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11)? Without doubt, the answer must be a resounding Yes when you ponder the events of the book of Ruth.
The earthly teacher whom God used to counsel me with His Word this time is John Piper, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence. What a precious little book! Here is a portion that I found so encouraging.
At one level, the message of the book of Ruth is that the life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there. The life of the godly is not an Interstate through Nebraska but a state road through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. There are rockslides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backward in order to go forward. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead, there are frequent signs that say, ‘The best is yet to come.’
Taken as a whole, the story of Ruth is one of those signs. It was written to give us encouragement and hope that all the perplexing turns in our lives are going somewhere good. They do not lead off a cliff. In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy….
Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.