A Change Worth Making
Change is hard.
That’s the theme of life right now. In nearly every aspect of our lives we are facing change – school, work, church and home. Even family relationships are being affected because many are not free to be with the ones they love, and others are now cooped up together!
I’ve always enjoyed time at home alone, but to be told to stay there for three weeks is a bit overwhelming. The change feels strange, and could easily be discouraging if I don’t focus on accomplishing something worthwhile.
So, I decided to try something new (at the insistence of many of you!)
Last week, I posted my very first Facebook video, “Change is Hard”. I simply hoped God would use it to bring encouragement to everyone who saw it. The trial run went so well that I posted another one yesterday. This time, I presented a challenge to everyone during this time of great change:
Give yourself some alone time with your God and your Bible during this “stay at home” order.
In order to help everyone get started, I suggested the book of Ruth. If you haven’t read it lately, I encourage you to do so. First, if you haven’t watched the second Facebook video “Where to Start,” I encourage you to do so, because I shared some facts about the story which will help you understand it better. Then, either open your Bible, or follow this link to read the Book of Ruth. Don’t worry, it’s only 4 chapters long.
The story of Ruth and Naomi is a tender one for me. My heart goes out to Naomi for obvious reasons. I know what it’s like to lose my husband and my children. And I understand what it’s like to become bitter. But I also know the God who brings hope back into a broken life through the gift of a daughter.
That’s the story I would like to tell you today.
After the accident, I continued attending the church where my husband preached and my family attended. There I found comfort and support. A few months later, the youth pastor asked me to lead a Bible study for college students through our church. Even though my brain still struggled to think clearly at that point, I thought I could try since I expected only the three college students who were in our church at that time.
That’s not what happened.
Instead, those three invited their friends to come hear “the lady who lost her family.” I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed, but that night started something big in my life. On a whim, I invited the kids to do their laundry at my house instead of paying for it at the laundromat. In no time at all, my home filled with students doing laundry, working on homework, and having great current day event debates around the dining room table.
I didn’t really know who “Lora” was, without my family, and I didn’t know how to find her. God used these students to help me take steps forward in that process. They became my bridge to life.
But God was up to much more than that.
Three years later, I moved back to Liberal, Kansas for a job at First Baptist Church. The church allowed me to hire an intern to help me with summer camps and Bible schools. Of course, I messaged my college kids from Miami. Teresa answered that message and moved to Liberal for the summer. In fact, she lived with me the next three summers.
A special relationship began to form between us. Little by little. God knew what I needed, and God knew what was coming in Teresa’s life.
Unexpectedly, and without warning, Teresa’s mom passed away. Then, shortly thereafter, her father was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke. Teresa was still young, and very much afraid. We began to spend more and more time together. With great sorrow, we said goodbye to her father a few months later.
Finally, the lightbulb came on. God had prepared the way for us, years ago. Without us realizing what He was doing, He had been creating a mother-daughter relationship between us. We needed each other, as family.
Just like God gave Ruth to Naomi, God gave Teresa to me. (If you would like to read more of the details of my story with Teresa, you can find it in Song of a Wounded Heart, Chapter 17.)
But God is up to so much more than that.
He has an amazing gift for ALL of us.
Just like Boaz became Ruth’s rescuer, Jesus wants to be our rescuer. He is our kinsman redeemer. Let me explain. First, He qualifies as our kinsman because He was born of Mary, making him human like you and me.
Just like Naomi, we have a problem we cannot fix on our own. God requires everyone who has sinned to be separated from Him in eternity. We can’t buy or earn our way into heaven. Just like Naomi didn’t have the money to buy her property back, we need someone to provide a way for us to be right with God again.
In His love for us, God allowed Jesus to pay the penalty of separation for us. He became separated from God through His death on the cross. And then He proved He had the power to give us eternal life by rising from the grave. Jesus willingly became my redeemer and rescuer when He bought back my heritage as a child of God – a heritage I lost through sin. He made a way for me to return to God’s family.
It’s an amazing, life changing gift – it’s everything you need, and even more than you hoped it could be.
Believing in Jesus is a change worth making.