Restoration Through the Midst of Loss
I started seminary in fall of 2017. During my time there, I would often bring my lunch and eat in the lobby, and through that became friends with Sheryl, the seminary’s secretary. She noticed one day how a retired chaplain was bringing in several boxes of books. Sheryl introduced us, and I thanked her for the wonderful boxes of resources. In talking with this generous woman, I discovered that she had been a nurse for 30 years prior to becoming a chaplain. We quickly discovered many things in common related to our love for God and his people. I was thankful for how God provided both a friend and many new resources, too!
God Grows A Friendship
This beautiful mentor invited me to a two-day retreat this summer that she was doing on the book of Ruth. I still remember my seminary professor, Paul Rainbow, declaring, “I believe the book is really about Naomi.” My mentor explained that the story of Ruth and Naomi is one of loss, but also one of God’s demonstration of kinsman redeemer. In the old testament, the kinsman redeemer had the responsibility to buy back the ancestral property and relatives who had become slaves (see Lev 25:23-28, 47-55; Num 35:19). Being a godly man, Boaz would certainty fulfill his duty toward them. This is a role Jesus plays too, as our kinsman redeemer. Jesus buys us back from the enslavement of sin through His death on the cross and resurrection and makes us part of His family (Isa 52:3, Matt 20:28, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
An Exercise of Naomi’s Reality
My mentor encouraged the group to participate in an activity using a sheet of paper. She asked each person,
“What are your five most prized possessions?
Your five closest family members?
Your five closest friends?
Your five most favorite hobbies?
Your 5 body parts that you value the most?” We began writing. Then, she slowly read through the book of Ruth.
The group was instructed to cross off two to three things each time the lesson detailed a transition. For example, a transition was when Naomi lost her spouse. Another was when she lost her first son, and then her second son. Later how she had to move, how she lost Orpha when she moved back to her family of origin, etc. In summary, this exercise helped me process the losses related to moving. One of my personal applications is learning to downsize my belongings. At first, it felt overwhelming to make all those decisions, but seeing how God helped Ruth and Naomi survive much transition brought me comfort and hope. Obviously, the loss of possessions is small in comparison to losses of health, family and friends, yet God is faithful to walk with us through losses we know and draws us to Himself.
Trials We Face
My husband and I saw another demonstration this past week of God’s kindness and loyalty. Yes, we did lose two trees in the storm. The positive part is that a relative and two neighbors volunteered to come and assist with the initial clean-up of getting the trees off our deck and roof. Please join me me in prayer that God will draw people to Himself through the trials of the recent tornadoes and flooding. Deb Moore