I am currently reading a book about the Biblical account of Ruth and Naomi by Paul Miller (son of Jack Miller) entitled “A Loving Life: In a world of broken relationships”. In this book he says, “Repentance involves a returning to… (the story) …my Father has given me. I stop creating my own story and submit to the story that God is weaving.”
Naomi ran away from Israel and the difficulties she faced because of famine and poverty. Twelve times in the first chapter of the book of Ruth the author used the word return or (shub) which according to Miller can mean repent. By returning, Naomi and Ruth were woven into the story of their greatest descendant Jesus who died to open the way for us to return to God as His children.
This week I met Justin pictured here with me in the selfie. (Photo and story used with permission) He traveled 780 miles from Luanda, Angola to Vanga Evangelical Hospital for medical care. The most important problem on his list of difficulties was spiritual distress. He had walked away from God and didn’t believe God loved Him or would show him the way to care for his family and their needs. I shared with him the truth found in the Bible, that God did love him and Jesus paid for his sins and opened the way for him to find new life in the grand story of redemption God was weaving. That day we prayed together, and he rededicated his life to following God’s plan for his life.
I was so encouraged to hear him say, “I am so glad God put you in my path.” I found the Portuguese (the language spoke in Angola) version of the Bible online and printed out the following 4 verses: Romans 6:23, 2 Timothy 1:7, Isaiah 41:10, and 2 Peter 1:3-9. After reading and memorizing these verses, the next day he told me, “I saw my solution in the Bible.”
What a joy to have God continue to weave us into His wonderful plan. Pray that we continue to return to the story God has given us. Ask God to help us to NOT walk away from His story for our lives when times are difficult or when we face opposition from without or internal struggles with our own selfishness and pride.
Tim and Kathy Rice
Christ followers in Vanga Congo