“As it turned out, she was working in a field belong to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek” (Ruth 2:3b)
God’s activity is subtle in the book of Ruth. Excellent timing here, faithful people there. Yet all the while, God continually works fullness and redemption for Ruth and Naomi. There is no more subtle and yet profound action by God in this book than hidden in the phrase ‘as it turned out.’
Ruth and Naomi have come to Bethlehem from Moab. Naomi is returning empty after ten years abroad, while Ruth enters Israel for the first time as a widow and a foreigner. They are vulnerable and in need. Ruth takes advantage of the only social service available at the time: God’s provision for the poor during the harvest. Ruth walks behind those harvesting and picks up any heads of grain they might have let fall.
‘As it turned out,’ Ruth was in the field of Boaz. Boaz who was both a righteous man and a near kinsman. ‘As it turned out,’ being placed in the field of Boaz was crucial for the unfolding of God’s work of redemption in the family of Naomi and Ruth. However, ‘as it turned out’ is a loaded phrase. On the surface it suggests lucky happenstance, but roiling below the surface is God’s powerful and majestic providence. Within the workings of God, there is no happenstance, ‘as it turned out’ always has a redemptive, providential purpose. ‘As it turned out’ is God’s subtle activity in this moment for Ruth and Naomi.
Our lives are filled with ‘as it turned out’ moments. God works in the placement of people, words, and moments to bring about his redemptive purposes for us. ‘As it turned out,’ Olga’s family bought their farm from a family who would invite them into their homes, lives, and church – strengthening and deepening their faith. ‘As it turned out,’ I was sitting in the back row of the chapel at Crystal Conference Center to hear a young man’s hope that God would call someone to serve as a minister in his church. ‘As it turned out,’ many of the moments and people in my life were part of God’s work in shaping, forming, providing, and redeeming me for his purpose.
What are your ‘as it turned out’ moments? How has God placed you and others in just the right place for his purposes?