God Is Working on Your Behalf
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4 (NIV)
An ultimatum from my boss left me no choice but to head into unemployment. I'll never forget the day she asked me to lead an initiative that went against God's Word.
Staying at my job would deny my faith. Leaving would challenge it. Fears clamored. If I quit, I'd be broke. I had no husband, no savings, no additional source of provision.
Day after day I pleaded with God to intervene, to change my boss's mind. But it didn't happen.
She made her decision, which solidified mine: I turned in my two weeks notice.
That was my first step into my journey of joblessness. My mind raced with fears: would I be able to pay rent, find a new job, hold onto hope? Day by day, my financial, spiritual and emotional accounts were depleted. I couldn't see beyond my raw emotions and dreary situation.
God nudged me to send my resume to a ministry. A place I knew rarely hired. Somewhere I didn't know if my gifts could even be used. I doubted they'd accept my application, and pushed aside the thought to apply.
If only I had lifted my eyes away from the despair, I might have realized God was working on my behalf, much like He did for Naomi in the book of Ruth.
You see, at the same time soil churned, seeds nestled underground, and crops waved in the wind, Naomi needed God to intervene. She lamented to her widowed daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth:
"Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up?" (Ruth 1:12b-13a NIV)
Perceived destitution left her feeling desperate. Can you feel it in this widow's words?
Then Naomi told them, "'Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me?'" (vs. 11a)
It would take time for Naomi to look beyond her dire circumstances and see the divine intervention waiting on her. God had plans of redemption that involved Ruth, the very person Naomi tried to push away. Yet she was so engulfed by her emotions and circumstances, she couldn't fathom how God might provide.
"Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me." (vs. 20b AMP)
Perhaps your current situation is bitter and dismal. Maybe your journey has been long. You can't see how God is working things out. You don't have the energy to apply for one more job, so you turn down the lead a friend sends you. Your marriage is on the verge of collapse anyhow, so you opt to cancel your counseling appointment. Life in general is bleak, so you withdraw rather than join your sister for dinner.
If you are weary; if the road is too difficult; if you feel destitute financially, emotionally, spiritually; don't miss this—
"So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning." (vs. 22 NIV, emphasis added)
Naomi's journey was hard and long. Yet her first step began at the same time soil churned, seeds nestled underground, crops waved in the wind. And when she arrived at her place of redemption, the harvest was beginning; a harvest that was gleaned by Ruth, the very one she had pushed away.
It was in that field that Ruth caught Boaz's attention. Boaz, who was Naomi's kinsmen redeemer, unceremoniously provided above and beyond for both women for the rest of their lives.
Well before I turned in my two weeks notice, the Lord was tilling the heart of my would-be new employer to hire an assistant. He faithfully watered that seed as I was searching for a job. And a new position was created shortly after I applied.
Looking back now, I wish I had chosen to believe and looked expectantly for His faithfulness instead of torturing myself with worry and fear.
Though unseen, God is divinely intervening. If you are walking in what feels like a desperate and destitute place, might I encourage you? Look to the Lord instead of your circumstances today. He's working on your behalf.
Dear Lord, You are faithful. Please direct my thoughts and my steps. Take what doesn't belong—fear, doubt, unbelief—and replace them with hope, trust and joy as I focus on You instead of my circumstances. Thank You for working on my behalf. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What might the Lord be doing on your behalf, even now? Who or what could He be using, that you may be trying to push away?
"When God seems furthest, He may be laying the foundation of showing His greatest faithfulness." David Platt
Psalm 66:5, "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf!" (NIV 1984)