“Gregory Lane Lanier was driving around Sebring, Florida, with his dog beside him. The dog accidentally kicked his shotgun, which Lanier thought was unloaded. It wasn’t, and shot him in the leg. Police did not arrest the dog. Believe it or not, this was not the first time such a thing has happened. Last year, a professional hunter in France was in the field when one of his dogs jumped on him, hitting the trigger of his gun. The hunter’s hand was shot and had to be amputated.”
In other news, “Scientists are watching an asteroid called Apophis, which is 1,000 feet across and will come dangerously close to Earth in 2029 and again in 2036. If it were to strike our planet, it would have the force of approximately 20,000 Hiroshima bombs.” Finally, “The fact that 1.3 billion Catholics (nearly 20 percent of the global population) are presently without a leader on the papal throne in these chaotic days is indeed significant.”
Each of those stories is from a blog by Dr. Jim Denison, and they seemed totally unrelated when I first read them. Until Jim connected the dots near the end of his post:
“Here’s the good news: God is still on his throne. Nothing you’ve read this morning surprised him. He doesn’t need to consult blogs and Twitter feeds to know what’s going on in his universe. He already knows if Apophis is a threat to our planet and who the next pope will be. And he stands ready to redeem everything that happens in our lives” ( deni sonforum.org ).
The book of Ruth is a wonderful testimony to the truth that God is on the throne and he alone is able to connect the dots and make sense of our lives. The story of Ruth took place when judges ruled in Israel, a dark and difficult time. Elimelech and Naomi lived in Bethlehem until a famine forced them to move. Elimelech took his family all the way to Moab, where he must have heard that there was food. They settled there and famine soon gave way to bereavement, as Naomi buried her husband in Moab. Her sons had found suitors, so perhaps Naomi’s grief was softened somewhat by two new members of the family and the prospect of more to come. But 10 years went by and with it, no grandchildren were born. Grief was added to disappointment as Naomi’s sons died, leaving behind two childless widows, Ruth and Orpah. Famine. A move. Bereavement. Two marriages. Three funerals. At this point, the family of Elimelech from Bethlehem stood on the brink of extinction. When Naomi heard there was bread again in Bethlehem, she began her journey back home and begged her daughters-in-law to stay in their country.
Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye and turned back to Moab. Ruth, however, having heard the same persuasion from Naomi, chose to stay with her motherin-law, leaving behind her family, homeland, culture, friends and the gods they worshipped. Ruth uttered those beautiful words of commitment and faith that many followers of God have grown to love: “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried.” The truth is, God still reigns. In the words of Abraham Kuyper, onetime prime minister of the Netherlands, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’”
J. Mark Fox is the author of “A Faithful Man” and the pastor of Antioch Community Church on Power Line Road in Elon. You can Tweet him @jmarkfox and can find all of Mark’s books on Amazon or other online sellers. Email Mark at markfox@antiochchurch.