Mitra: Reconstituted and re-moulded young widow
Not too long ago, one of my young friends, also in Christian ministry, left for his heavenly abode, leaving behind his 29-year-old wife.
While it is hard to imagine a life without one’s life partner at such a young age, life throws a curve at all of us — young or old.
In order to counsel the deceased wife, I looked up the story of another young widow in the Bible, the story of Ruth in the Old Testament.
Ruth was torn apart by the choice she had to make when she lost her husband.
She loved her country and her parents and relatives.
How could she choose between them and her mother-in-law?
No doubt they all had told her what decision to make at this time.
But, now, standing on the road together, even her mother-in-law advised her to turn back to her own relatives and forget those years when she had learned to love the God of Israel — the God whom her husband had taught her to love.
Her mind instantly replayed the happy years with her now-deceased husband and his family.
She had overcome many differences she had faced because he was a foreigner.
He worshipped a different God.
His ways were different.
He held different ideals, rules, attitudes and morals.
One by one, she made decisions to go his way, not hers.
She decided to embrace his God as her own and not just as his God.
She recalled the hurting, the unreality of those early days when she and her sister-in-law and mother-in-law all suffered together.
How they helped and encouraged each other in their sorrow.
She loved her husband’s mother, Naomi, even more than that she loved her God.
Now, her mother-in-law wanted her to return to her own country.
Ruth had to choose between her blood relatives and the God in whom she had come to trust.
Unknown to her, her choice decided whether she would become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
We seldom even know at the time what will be the results of our choices in life.
If we choose in obedience to God, we need never say later: “If only I had known what the result would be.”
What enables us to make hard decisions in life?
First, we practise the small, day-by-day ones we know we ought to carry out.
Through these experiences, our character is moulded.
Each hard choice makes it easier to make the next one right.
She came through this latest period of indecision feeling wrung out but happy.
She chose to go with Naomi, not just because Naomi had been a good mother to her, not just because she and Naomi had been through hard experiences together, but because she had learned God is trustworthy.
Without Him, she could not face life.
God controls our circumstances in order to mould our character as a potter moulds the clay in his hands.
Ruth spoke some of the most sublime words found in the scripture: “Where you go I will go. Your people will be my God. Where you live, I will live. Where you die, I will die and be buried.”
As she put her unknown future into the hands of God, she had no idea her name would be recorded in the Bible as the great-grandmother of the greatest King of Israel, and as an ancestor of Jesus Himself — she, an outsider, a foreigner, a young helpless widow.
Our circumstances may be horrific or ordinary.
The Lord knows what is needed in our life and perfectly fits our experiences to mould in us the character He wants.
We have the choice to co-operate with God or to resent Him and His plans.
Remember — He is the potter with all rights to make us the kind of vessel that He can use.
He is using His hands to personally create the circumstances that will perfectly fit us for His use.
Co-operate with Him, don’t become bitter.
Become a vessel fit for the Master’s use.
Narayan Mitra is a chaplain at Thompson Rivers University.
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