When I was a girl, I had a collection of blown glass figurines. The sentimental attachment to these treasures began when I was about five years old in a small tourist shop in Branson, Missouri. I still remember when I was allowed to pick out a glass bear about two inches tall with a blue belly and ears. After that, whenever my family went on a little adventure, I would often return home with a glass blown animal or flower to add to my collection.
I don’t recall the details around how it happened, but I do remember returning home from school one afternoon to learn that somehow much of the collection had been destroyed. I had acquired a flat oval mirror upon which I carefully arranged my glass items. The mirror had fallen off my dresser, the figurines on top of the mirror had tumbled to the floor, and then the mirror had landed on top of the fragile items. The only thing that could be done had been done. The colorful glass fragments had been cleaned up and thrown away.
I know I am not alone in feeling like there have been several times that my heart or even my entire life has felt like that blown glass collection. Broken beyond repair. Ready for the trash. The beauty nothing more than a memory. No plan could be wise enough to believe there was any possibility of restoration.
I find hope in the story of Ruth for situations like this. In Ruth’s life, we have an example of what God can do when our plans are shattered beyond repair. Ruth’s former life was but a distant memory. Her husband was dead, her home was far away, and her security had all but vanished. Navigating the new life she found herself in must have seemed something like attempting to find and put back together the pieces of my original blue bear in a pile of broken glass figurines.
But she had one important thing going for her. She believed in and honored God. She kept putting one foot in front of the other, worked hard, trusted in His provision for her, and dedicated herself to Him fully. Friends, faith in God is the difference between something broken that has to be swept up and thrown away and something that can be put back together in a way that brings more beauty even than the original form.
In the places of our lives that seem like they are too broken, too far in the past, too messy, and filled with too many wrong turns, I encourage us to take a fresh look at Ruth’s story. Her decisions can serve as an example to us. When we are sitting in a situation that looks like nothing we thought it would, we still have choices. We can stay faithful. We can continue to walk in His ways. We can choose Him every day. And we can put our trust in Him and believe that He is working to reveal His redemptive plan in us.
Read the story of Ruth in Ruth 1-4