Late on the first of October one American man killed nearly 60 people, and injured over 500 others. This tragic event has torn across our country, causing untold sadness and heartache to all the victims and their families, not to mention those who now live in fear for their lives every time they enter a crowded supermarket, shopping mall, or other public gathering place. Many eyes are filled with tears; many hearts have been pressed down by grief.
Those whose hearts are pained, Psalm 55 may give voice to some of your feelings. Open your heart and let these inspired words pour in.
Jesus was, among other things, the best teacher to ever walk the earth. His teachings apply to real life and they are deep, but not always the simplest to understand. Often His disciples asked Him to clarify His teachings (Lk. 8:9; Jn. 14:5). In one instance, however, we see a problem that still exists today: They were afraid to ask the questions that plagued their minds. Look at Luke 9:45b:
“…they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.” (NASB95, Emphasis mine)
How many times have you sat silently in a Bible class with questions rolling around in your brain, but were too afraid to ask? When you are afraid to ask your questions, remember:
The book of Ruth tells the story a mother and daughter-in-law whose husbands have died. The beginning of the account is filled with loss and uncertainty. The lives of Ruth and Naomi have been shattered. Naomi is so distraught that she tells the ladies of the town, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20b).
The name “Naomi” means “pleasant,” but that was the last thing her life was to her at that moment. As the rest of the story unfolds, God’s blessings are seen and appreciated. Ruth finds a lawful and noble husband in Boaz who cares both for her and Naomi, and by the end of the book the women of the city are blessing the Lord for all His blessings on Naomi (Ruth 4:14–15).
How does your life feel today? Are you in a place of pleasantry, where every turn seems to bring greater and greater blessings? Are you in the midst of bitterness, where every breath is labored and your suffering appears to have no end? Maybe you find yourself in a place between the two extremes. However your life feels today, remember the lesson Naomi and Ruth teach us: Loyalty to the Lord assures blessing in the end. Even if you are in the worst days you have experienced, remember that hope for a bright and pleasant future remains for every child of God:
"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11a)
Even if every remaining day of your life is filled with troubles, loyalty to the Lord assures an eternity with Him, an eternity which causes all your current troubles to pale and fall away against its glory (Romans 8:18). Walk with the Lord all your days, and find the true blessing in eternity with Him and with all the saved.
Eli Schnell is the Youth and Family Minister at the Northwest Church of Christ
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135