The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. Zephaniah 3:17
Get to know Naomi. Read her story found in the book of Ruth.
I think it only right to ask you for forgiveness.
I have cursed you. I have wished you gone. I have felt it right to bite into the bitter pith of circumstance rather than finding healing in the sweetness of hidden gifts that await within the days.
I know better. And yet I still hold you in contempt. And I become blind to the redemptive love of a Creator God who crafted us both for His glory and our good.
Perhaps I am far more like Naomi than I care to admit. I think you understand, because you carry the bittersweet pain too. I shared Naomi’s story in my book when writing about the fear of the unknown. Her story resonates still.
It had gone well for her. She had a beautiful life, a good family, and a future that looked bright. She knew there would be days in sunshine and the promise of big belly laughs and sticky toddler kisses on cheeks and pet names like Nana or GiGi. And then, piece by piece, the life that felt so secure starts falling like painted tiles hitting a stone floor—crashing, cracking, crushing.
The man she vowed to love forever dies. The sons she couldn’t help but cherish die. And the woman whose name means “Sweet” is left all alone, held together only by people who share little heritage and no DNA. Her name no longer describes her. She is not wife or mom. There will never be a Nana or GiGi. Pain strips the sweetness from the life she thought would always be there.
Naomi stands, aching, wondering, lost. “Call me Bitter,” she says. “That is what I am now–a life that is difficult to swallow, a future unsure, a million questions with no good answers, hope overshadowed by dark day upon dark day.”
Yes, 2020. Those words echo. Though I’ve offered encouragement to others publicly, I’ve said them in the privacy of my own doubts.
And yet, God keeps calling Naomi by her true name—Sweet.
And He does it through the words of Ruth, a woman who shares little heritage and no DNA.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving. I’m here beside you, and I’m going with you.”
In the words of Ruth, Naomi hears the voice of God. “We are in this together. In shadow and sunlight, in beauty and in pain. And I believe there is still a life to be lived in your life—watch Me redeem this. There will be unexpected love.”
Unexpected love in the faithfulness of a friend. Unexpected love in the long-road walk to a yet unseen destination. Unexpected love in the tender voice of a loving God who says, “You remain My delight. There is sweetness to be tasted in these days. Watch Me redeem this.”
2020, in your days, God has made space for unexpected love to find us. Forgive us for our blindness to the gift. It’s time to see. There’s still time to see.
List all the ways unexpected love has found you in this season—ways you may have been blind to until now. This is our unexpected Advent. And God is here.
You’ll find some love notes in this playlist. I promise.