Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6, The Bible
Bereavement… a job ending… a relationship breakdown… debts…a difficult manager at work… the list of stress factors can go on. How we cope with change and challenging circumstances can vary, but there’s no getting away from the reality that life doesn’t always go smoothly. Yet we are given a way to deal with life’s challenges. The statement above from the Bible tells us how we should handle things that affect our sense of wellbeing.
“I already have calming methods that don’t involve religion” some may say. Perhaps you do. But surely presenting ourselves and our cares to the One who gives us the air that we breathe, the Creator of life, is the best way? More than ‘religion’ – our Creator calls us into a holy and loving relationship of purpose and peace.
A tale of two women…
There were two women living in the Middle East region – Naomi, a widow who felt bitter, and Ruth, her equally-widowed daugher-in-law. Naomi, after losing her husband and her sons whilst living in a foreign country, was about to make a lonely journey back to her hometown. Ruth, a stranger to Naomi’s hometown and customs, was desperate to stay with her mother-in-law. Naomi tried to put her off, but Ruth said these words:-
Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.Ruth 1:16, The Bible
Ruth was willing to embrace the God whom Naomi knew. She took a big step of faith to go with Naomi. In Naomi’s sadness and despondency, she risked being lonely forever if it wasn’t for Ruth’s insistence, clinging to her mother-in-law. The rest of the story shows how a distant relative of Naomi stepped into the role of a redeemer to provide for Ruth and her mother-in-law. This resulted in this ‘kinsman redeemer’ and Ruth having a son – an ancestor of the promised Messiah to come. By faith, Ruth followed Naomi, By faith, she obeyed Naomi’s instructions regarding the relative. By faith, blessings came.
Faith in the one true merciful Creator God leads to a sense of purpose and gaining of a new perspective on life.