There are a lot of things that happen in life that we are just not prepared for handling. As a matter of fact, if God revealed to us what was on the way, we’d take off running in the other direction. Sometimes one thing happens, and that one thing ends up changing your entire world for what you know it to be. That is what happened to Naomi. She was surprised by disappointment, and then surprised by provision.
Naomi and her husband Elimelech, and their two sons decided to leave Bethlehem and reside in Moab because of the famine. Instead of life getting better at this point, it got worse. Elimelech died. Their two sons found wives, and got married. Then their two sons died.
Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, since she heard that they had bread again. She figured that this might be a small sign of God’s provision. Naomi told her two daughter-in-laws to head back to their homelands so that they could find husbands, since she didn’t have anymore sons. Orpah left, but Ruth decided to stay:
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Ruth 1:16, KJV
When they returned back to Bethlehem, it was evident that Naomi was surprised by God’s provision:
So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. Ruth 1: 19-22, KJV
Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a clue that going back to Bethlehem would bring surprise provision itself. They went back for bread. God had a little bit more than bread waiting for them. He slowly began to reveal his plan.
Ruth went out to glean corn, and she met a man named Boaz. They had a conversation, and Boaz let on to Ruth that God was recompensing her work for her full diligence:
And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
Ruth 2: 11-12, KJV
When Ruth arrived back home, Naomi questioned her about the food. Ruth told her that she had met a man by the name of Boaz. Naomi knew this was good news:
And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
Ruth 2: 20, KJV
According to the law, a kinsmen could be the redeemer if a relative died. In this case, since Boaz was a kinsmen, he could redeem the land that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. However, there was a kinsmen even closer than Boaz. This meant that he had first pick. This relative didn’t want to forfeit his own inheritance. Therefore, Boaz became the kinsmen redeemer.
And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
Ruth 4: 9-10, KJV
What a surprise! The women encouraged Naomi, telling her that God hadn’t forgotten about her:
And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
Ruth 4: 14-15, KJV
At the age of 25, I had my surprise disappointment as well. I was pregnant with my first child, and I worked all the way up to the day before delivery. At the time, I was the breadwinner for the household, and I had all of the family health insurance in my name. My son had his days and nights mixed up, and so for almost six weeks, I had between two to three hours of consecutive sleep during the night. I was at the point of extreme exhaustion, and I could tell that my blood pressure was up.
This was confirmed when the home nurse came out to check on me. As soon as she checked my blood pressure, she knew that it was from lack of sleep. Four days before my six weeks was up, my son started sleeping through the night for four consecutive hours. However, I need that I would need two extra weeks of this before returning to work, or else my health would plummet.
I called my job, and requested an additional two weeks off. I was informed that if i didn’t come back right away, then I would be considered as having abandoned my job. I hung up the phone, and then wrestled with what to do. With $50 left to my name, and no emergency money, this was a hard call. However, I also knew that if they were like this about my health, then they would definitely be like this about my son’s health as well. I decided not to go back, not sure of how I would make it.
My son was almost 3 months old when I took him to his three month checkup. After the appointment, I decided to visit my old job, which was five minutes away. I got caught up with everyone, and my old boss asked me when I would return to work. I told my old boss what happened, and he said, ” Just like that?”. I replied, ” Yes, just like that. End of story.” We laughed, and he asked me what I thought of working for him again. I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious. What a surprise!
Within two weeks, I was back to working again. In the beginning, I worked a five day week, then a 10 hour four-day week while my son was little, before moving on to a different job. I didn’t know, but God knew that his divine providence was waiting for me at this place. All I had to do was to go and get it. Talk about Jesus working it out with provision!
We thank you for your surprise providence. Thank you for helping us to step out on faith, even when we are not sure what you have in store for us.
In Jesus’ name we pray,