My friends often tease me, because I’m notorious for reading the ending of a story before I actually finish it. They say it’s a nasty habit and cheating; I say I just want to know there’s going to be a happy ending.
I especially enjoy when authors use dramatic irony which lets the reader in on a secret the characters in the story don’t know yet. For instance, the peasant girl is really a princess or the actual treasure isn’t buried in the sand.
Sometimes, I forget when reading my Bible that the characters in a story didn’t know what was going to happen.
- Israel, how could you be so foolish not to trust God?
- Abraham and Sarah, why couldn’t you have just waited a few more years?
But the fact is, Israel had no idea how God would save them from Pharaoh’s 600 chariots. They didn’t know He was going to part the Red Sea. Abraham and Sarah knew God had promised them a son, but they were physically on the wrong side of the “clock.”
I had another aha moments when reading Ruth’s story again. In chapter two, Ruth is looking for a field where she can glean the scraps left over by the reapers.
“And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech” (KJV).
The irony tied up in that little word “hap” made me smile. “Hap” means chance or accident, but of course with God, there are no accidents.
Ruth didn’t realize it was no accident she found Boaz’s field. It wasn’t an accident that he was a near kinsman. It wasn’t an accident that God had prepared Boaz’s heart to redeem this lovely Moabitess widow.
It was the author’s hand beautifully weaving a story of love and redemption.
The next time you’re tempted to wonder what God is doing in your life and if He will ever come through for you, I encourage you to study the characters in the Old Testament. Daniel didn’t know God would close the lion’s mouths. David didn’t know he would one day become king. Esther probably thought little girls only dreamed about being queen – not actually becoming one.
God took each of these people through difficult times to test their faith and demonstrate His power and glory.
With life, there is no flipping to the end of the book to find out what’s going to happen. Maybe sometimes we wish there were.
But even though we can’t see the end of our stories, we can know the Author who is writing them. And we can trust Him to work our circumstances together for our good (Romans 8:28).