The book of Ruth contains its fair share of this empowering Biblical truth: our lives are a series of divine appointments, not random coincidences or circumstances (Ruth 2).
Naomi and her foreign daughter in law, Ruth, were both widows, destitute and utterly powerless.
Then Ruth, a foreigner in Israel, embarks of a risky venture. In desperation to find food for Naomi and herself, she strides out into the harvest fields of Israel.
Yes, Israel had special God-given provisions for widows, foreigners and orphans. But it was the period of the Judges. It was lawless and everyone did as they liked.
In this lawless and anarchic period, women should know how dangerous men, especially foreign men, can be.
Ruth strode out into this unknown. She randomly “stumbles” into the harvest field of Boaz, an uncharacteristically selfless man in a period of selfishness.
This random and risky encounter would be God’s divine appointment to turn their hopeless dead-end around.
We celebrated our son’s birthday recently. I reflected on his life against the canvass of divine sovereignty and was filled afresh with thanksgiving.
He was conceived at a time when we least expected and could least afford him. My wife and I were in Bible College. We were poor students.
In fact, I had a reputation of being Mr Late Fees. I dreaded walking up to the college office to face the stern clerk for another extension of my tuition fees.
So, the last thing we needed was another mouth to feed. And we all know babies cost money – from milk powder, nappies to doctors.
And how were two full-time students in our final year of study supposed to find time to mind a baby?
Yet God, as always, graced us to trust Him. We never went hungry. My son was not simply conceived in the heat of a moment but in the heart of God!
I say that not to assuage my weakness but to affirm the greatness of God.
Our son has been, like my family and church, God’s gift in his time and for his purpose. He has brought so much undeserved love, joy and peace.
Above all, he has brought us a resilient sense of purpose. Nothing happens by chance but by divine appointment.
Whenever I am tempted to succumb to the randomness and purposelessness of living faithfully in a fallen world, I remember my son.
How much more when we look to God’s Son, our Lord Jesus! His death on the Cross is like a celestial sponge absorbing all the randomness and recklessness of Godless living.
So, never get used to aimless living. Pray and humble yourself. View and value all things through God’s eyes. Look out for divine appointments. Live with a sense of destiny.
That parent, spouse and child in your home is not random. That friend or bully in the school yard. And the boss, colleague or client in our workplace is not simplistically a joyless fatalism – even though that may be hard to believe!
Placed them against the canvass of God’s story of salvation. Pray and we might yet see how each has its divine purpose. Amen.