Behind the Scenes

How did Naomi find out in Moab that the famine was over in Judah? The text says “she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them (Ruth 1:6). Who told her? The point in the story is not how she heard; the point is that she heard. The Lord made sure she knew.

The Bible tells us Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem just as the harvest was beginning (Ruth 1:22). What a coincidence!

Ruth went to glean in a field and, wouldn’t you know it! “As it turned out,” the text says, “she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz” (Ruth 2:3). What a stroke of good luck!

“Just then,” it says in verse 4, “Boaz arrived!” Right at that very moment! Just then! What do you know? Boaz showed up! What are the odds?

It would take a couple of pages to explain the original Hebrew language here and the funny piling on of adjectives and adverbs at this part of the story. But the author is going out of his or her way to say, “This ain’t luck!” Somebody’s moving behind the scenes.

Four years ago, a young man named David proposed marriage to our middle daughter, Valerie. Several of Valerie and David’s friends were in on it for a couple of weeks before it happened. Family members were in on it. Valerie didn’t know. But that evening, somehow, Valerie just happened to be wearing a nice dress and David just coincidentally had the day off from work and incredibly they both wound up in the same friend’s backyard at the exact time and, wouldn’t you know, somebody was in the bushes taking pictures!

That didn’t just happen.

God is always moving the pieces into place and working out the timing and the details of his magnificent plans for your life. It’s a lot easier to see these things looking back than it is in the present. But the good things that happen to you are not by chance. They’re not the random events of a complex universe that sometimes produces an interesting coincidence. When you belong to God in Christ, what happens to you is by appointment, not accident.

It if were just up to us, we wouldn’t make it. None of us would. When Ruth walked into that field that day, she had no idea that she would marry the landowner and their great-great-grandson would be David, the King of Israel, and through him God would send his promised Savior of the World. She never could have asked or imagined any of that. She didn’t know. But the Lord did. He was working. Mostly behind the scenes. But he was, and is, always working.




  1. Howard Holmes

    You said “…the good things that happen to you are not by chance.” I was wondering if you might comment on “…the bad things that happen to you…”

  2. Allan

    Hey, you’re right. Way too oversimplified. I need to elaborate.
    My conviction on this is that when “bad” things happen, it’s one of three things: 1) the devil is trying to destroy you, 2) God is trying to transform you, or 3) it’s just part of living in a broken world. I assume the same is true when “good” things happen.
    In Scripture, the Lord almost always gets the credit for all of it.

  3. Beverly Stanglin

    Allan, you know that your Dad and I met in an unlikely way. I was shy then and the story is the story of me being bold. God caused that good thing. About the bad –that makes us stronger when we overcome the bad. It really doesn’t matter if the Devil is messing with me or God is testing me or if He is using discipline on me. Whatever it is, my job is to continue to serve God and know that he will not allow me to be tempted more than I can overcome, with His help. If I trust God the way I should, I’ll be OK.

  4. Howard Holmes

    My approach is something like “God is the source of all that happens to me so I will not judge anything that happens to me as good or bad.” It appears to me that we all converge at the same point.

  5. Allan

    Yeah, that’s why I put “bad” and “good” in quotation marks. It’s really hard to discern the difference on this side of glory.

  6. Howard Holmes

    There’s no good or bad on the other side either. (No bad by definition and no good because nothing can exist without its opposite).

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