I sat sweaty-palmed waiting for my name to be called from the list. I’d rehearsed my ballad 100 times in the previous weeks. Now it was time to show my skills and wow the judges with my best Liza Doolittle. It was my first college musical audition, and I was sure I’d steal the show.
I didn’t get the lead—or anything close—but I did spend my next few months singing, dancing, and preparing to put on my best town’s girl in the upcoming production.
There’s something inside us that longs to join the cast. We want to share in the story—even if we’re just a chorus member. And I don’t think it matters if we’re 15 or 50, we still want a part.
Trouble is we can’t always see the story composing around us. As an adolescent, it was easy to play the role of an opera diva or a Jewish peasant. But as an adult, I sometimes struggle to see the truer saga composing around me.
A sovereign story weaves its way through our lives. Our redemptive God is working all around us, but sometimes when life gets dark, we can’t make sense of the scene, and we struggle to take another step. Life stops—or so it seems.
Enter Naomi. A middle aged woman stripped of her family and ridden with grief. She left full and came home empty (Ruth 1:21). She spews her sorrow on the small town of Bethlehem all astir at her arrival. She is angry at God, sure of his judgment, and unsure of her own future.
It isn’t until Ruth chapter 3 that something shifts inside Naomi. God has been writing her redemption ever since she left Moab with one bold, believing daughter-in-law named Ruth. But she can’t see it.
Someone else must help her discern the story. Ruth, the unlikely star, opens Naomi’s eyes. She refuses to sit around listening to Noami’s growling stomach. So she steps into a foreign field, endangers her own safety, and finds refuge in a redeemer. Boaz sends her home with fresh grain—far more than she could ever pick in a day—she shows it to Naomi and the soulful shift begins.
Scales fall from Naomi’s eyes as she beholds the barley. She assumes her role in her family’s redemption. You can almost hear the famous ballad, “matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match” humming in the background as she instructs Ruth to visit Boaz at the threshing floor.
The rest, as they say, is history. The sovereign story concludes with a grandson lying on Naomi’s lap. Ruth and Boaz’s firstborn son, named Obed, means “serving.” What an apt name, as his little face forever reminds this family of God’s redemption.
Like Naomi, there’s a sacred story composing all around us. But so often I let my struggles eclipse the scene. I can’t see what God is doing, and so I settle for the sidelines. But I don’t want to stay there. I want to join the cast.
I long to see God move in my midst. I want to step in and speak boldly for another. I want a part even if it’s just a supporting role.
What if we lived like Ruth and woke up like Naomi? What if started seeing God’s sovereign story and submitted ourselves to whatever spot he has for us? We might find redemption woven into our role.