“Meanwhile” starts Chapter 4 of the book of Ruth in the Old Testament and we are still watching this “long-term care-plan” unfold for our widowed women, Ruth and Naomi. Ruth, as directed by Naomi, has ventured onto the threshing floor in the dark of night and offered to be married to Boaz, a kinsmen-redeemer of her late father-in-law. But…. There is a closer relative with rights to claim her. Sigh. Ruth reports to Naomi at the end of Chapter 3 and the women wait. Today I sense the helplessness they must have felt in a society as women, trying to create a future but unseen forces are at work. It reminds me of waiting during this virus season or electoral transition season. Plans never unfold quickly! “Meanwhile” needs to be followed by “meanwhile back at the ranch.” As I seek to work out my relationships, other factors are unfolding over which I am not in control.
As was the custom at that time, Boaz goes to the city gate where elders meet and finds the other man and pulls ten elders together as a kind of legal decision-making group. Boaz honestly shares that Naomi is selling her property that the other man has first bids on and Boaz is second in line. So close and yet so far from the goal. I think I hear another “meanwhile” as the lives of these two men discuss the future of Ruth. The man wants the property but “meanwhile” his family line has developed in such a way that if he buys the property and inherits Ruth with whom he would be required to have children, his family line would be endangered.
I do not understand all the cultural intricacies of this but I do understand that as we seek to create care-plans, the outcome is often contingent on events going on in other lives. As the family seeks to decide which care center to place a person in for the family to care, the events unfolding in all the participant’s lives, impacts the decision. As my husband and I decided where to retire, we weighed the events unfolding in the lives of our children. As we seek to plan and care, we realize we can only see so far into the future as lives of others are also unfolding.
Faith reaches out to a God who sees the present and possible future of all concerned in our decision. He knows the “meanwhiles” that impact our lives and that surprise us but do not surprise him. Proverbs 16:33 shares, ”The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is the Lord’s alone.” Likewise, I am comforted by 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he care for you.”
This week as we make our plans for Thanksgiving gatherings, Black Friday shopping, and weigh how we can best shown our love to others safely, we can bring all that angst to God in prayer because while we are worrying, “meanwhile back at the ranch” God is present walking with us. Blessings.