Yesterday I recommended the book of Ruth as a reminder that God works in ordinary lives in difficult times. The story of Ruth is about ‘two widows and a farmer whose lives are woven into the fabric of God’s salvation through the ordinary actions of common life.’ (Eugene Peterson, ‘Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work)
Many people feel daunted when reading the Bible. Miracles abound and prophets like Moses, Elijah and Elisha seem far beyond our experience. There is nothing daunting about the book of Ruth. It has just four chapters and its ordinary story about coping in times of economic difficulty and emotional trouble should resonate with us all. Ordinary people, dealing with ordinary, everyday situations. But ordinary does not mean insignificant or unimportant. Eugene Peterson goes on to describe Ruth’s story as ‘a modest but nevertheless essential part of the vast epic whose plot is designed by God’s salvation.’ (ibid., P 78)
The book reminds us that ‘every detail of a person’s life is part of a larger story, and the larger story is salvation.’ (Ibid., P 79) We are woven into God’s story, and suddenly insignificance is forgotten. We matter to God. God is working in the everyday details and shaping our lives. Ruth – a foreign ‘outsider’ – becomes part of the lineage of David and of Jesus. She’s integrated into God’s story through His sovereignty, which is worked out in intimate detail in ordinary people’s lives.
It can be hard for us to see the bigger picture of our lives (we’re too close; all we see are the knots and mess of the underside of the tapestry!) But Ruth assures us that there is a master weaver at work in our lives, whether we see that yet or not.