She happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz. - Ruth 2:3
Do you believe in luck? Do you think luck or fate is responsible for either the good or bad things that happen in our lives? Were you lucky to get the good job you have? Was your friend lucky to get such a good price on a house or a car? Was it just a stroke of luck that you met your mate or some other very influential person in your life?
I apologize for starting with a barrage of questions. But I want you to think with me about what we often say (and may actually believe) about the good and not so good events and circumstances of life. I fear that we may sometimes reflect our surrounding culture instead of our faith in a sovereign God when we attribute prosperity or adversity to luck instead of God.
Perhaps from a human perspective it seemed a "just so happened" thing when Ruth went to work in the field and wound up working the plot that belonged to Boaz. But as you read the charming story from the little book of Ruth, who can doubt that the hand of God placed the impoverished young woman in the field of her mother-in-law's wealthy kinsman? The young Moabite widow went out as a poor laborer, gleaning for daily bread for herself and her mother-in-law, who was also a poor widow. But Ruth gleaned far more than a few handfuls of grain among the sheaves in that field. She found the man who would become her husband and rescue Ruth and Naomi from poverty. She had no way of knowing that she would lend her name and story to a book of the Bible. And when she gave birth to Obed who would one day have a grandson named David, she found her place in the lineage of Messiah himself.
Surely we can see and believe the hand of God guided the "happened" meeting and the events that followed. We do not believe that it "just happened." This is not a story of coincidence, but of sovereign grace. We glorify God in the amazing story of what he did for Ruth.
What about in our own lives? Do we deify Chance or glorify God for ordering the everyday events of our lives? Like Peter around the charcoal fire in the high priest's courtyard, our speech may betray us. Are we talking like unbelievers in the world around us or like the people of God when we attribute what happens in life to mere luck, chance or fate?
If God is not in control of the circumstances and events of our lives, how could it be true that "all things work together for good" for those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)? Do we really believe that God "works all things according to the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11)? Does God really "work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 1:13)?
Is God there? Does he care? Can he do anything about our lives? Are his promises any good? We believe that God is, that God is indeed there, and that God does care. He is far from apathetic; he is passionate about his people. He is not powerless, but all-powerful. His promises are not just pleasant platitudes, suitable for greeting cards. They are certainties.
When I fear fate and rely on luck, I rob God of the glory he is due and rob myself of the confidence and peace I could enjoy. Believing his hand is on the controls of my life saves me from pride when things are going well and from despair when they're not.
Our faith is not in fate. We look beyond blind chance to explain life. As confident trust and reliance on a sovereign God envelops more of my heart and thinking, I see the hand of God (and not just coincidence) behind what happens in my life. My speech should agree with what I believe. I should acknowledge God's control over the highs and lows of life.
I want to feel less like a helpless victim caught in swirling circumstances and more like a beloved child of an all-powerful King. I want that for you, too. That blessing can be ours, if we'll stop giving glory to Chance and acknowledge God in all the circumstances of our lives.