God has a way of putting us where we need to be to receive the message we need to hear exactly when we need to hear it.
That’s what happened this morning when my husband and I decided to worship at Ebenezer Baptist Church instead of attending our own church. Rev. Natosha Rice delivered a word from the Lord that encouraged us to keep pressing forward in the midst of what has been a Job-like season for our family and friends: lung cancer, leukemia, prostate cancer.
And just as one friend was recovering from surgery for prostate cancer, he was hit last weekend by a tow truck driver while riding his bicycle.
In the midst of it all, we know in our hearts that God is in control. Yet in those quiet times — often in the midnight hour — fear and profound sadness creep in.
Rev. Rice shared with us the beautiful story of the devotion and faithfulness of Ruth toward her mother-in- law Naomi. When Naomi’s husband died, this woman who was admired by many lost her identity and became mired in depression. Later, her two sons — who were married to Ruth and Orpah — died; leaving the three women alone. Naomi told the younger women to return to their homelands because she had been foresaken for God.
Orpah left but Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law. She reminded Naomi of the woman she used to be and encouraged her to work through her pain and get back to her old self.
Rev. Rice talked about the power of their relationship to make the point that we need to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper. Yesterday I was blessed to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. For the last five years this friend has been faced with a huge test. In the midst of her husband’s health crisis, which has forever altered their life together, she has remained steadfast in her faith. God has allowed her to retire from her job, care for her husband and see her daughters marry the men of their dreams. She has watched her husband undergo a bone marrow transplant with cells donated by his eldest daughter.
My friend has been faithful in her Job season. She truly believes that the best is yet to come because of her relationship with God. Her children have risen up and called her blessed. Her friends and family marvel at her resilience. Her husband adores her.
Best of all, God is well pleased, as he was with Ruth — who was blessed with another husband, her Boaz.
Change comes to all of us. As I reflect on the valley my family finds itself in I am encouraged that my father is facing cancer with peace and clarity. I am thankful that he is free of pain. In our seasons of change we must hold fast to God’s unchanging hands and trust his will for our lives.
We must trust and believe that our best days are yet to come.