Friday, September 5, 2014

Flannel Boards & Paper Figures

Go with me, if you will.  To a Sunday school class years ago.  I can see a baby-blue covered flannel display board and the hands of a dedicated teacher as she holds up two paper figures between her fingers.  The story comes to life and quickly becomes one of my favorites - the story of Ruth & Naomi.  Loyalty, growth, friendship.  Such wonderful lessons I learned and took to heart. Today's lesson - God's ways are not our ways!  He thinks way differently from me!  Not only does He do things His way, it's ALWAYS the best for me when it boils right down to it.  God showed me this today...yes, I'm still learning after all these years removed from that class. :)
You most likely know the story too.  Naomi came home from the land of Moab with her daughter-in-law, Ruth.   She had lost much in the land of Moab and upon returning to her home place, she told the people to no longer call her Naomi, but to call her Mara.  So, that was that.  There's theology behind it all, I know, but this was the simple thought God gave me:  it didn't matter what Naomi decided she should be called at that point in her life, at the end of the book -   Ruth 4:17 says,  "And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi;"  The name "Mara" is only mentioned once in the Bible...when Naomi mentioned it.  How Naomi described herself at that point in her life was NOT what God saw or thought about her.  He raised her up and showed her His blessings anew.
Sometimes we look at our circumstances and name (call) it what we want, but that's not necessarily what God calls it.  What we may call a disappointment may just be God's appointment.  That vehicle with a blown-up motor might be called something else entirely.  The sickness your experiencing may not be that at all.  If you think God can no longer use you, if you think you've made too many mistakes or if you're feeling emptiness inside...that's most likely probably not what God says about you.  Again, I remind you, His ways are not our ways and He thinks differently too!!!  Hang on and know that at the end of this book, there is a perfect name for you and your situation.  There is a flannel board with your story on it...and you're the paper figure in Jesus' hands.  No safer place to be!  Have faith...God has great plans for you in His Kingdom.
Ruth 1:16  "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:"