I vividly remember the darkest day of my life, which turned out to be the worst four years of my life. I had just spent a perfect day at my parents for a Fourth of July barbecue. The call came in at midnight from my cousin, who informed me that my dad was taken away in an ambulance. My heart sank. My father had a massive stroke and we took him off life support six days later on July 10, 2006. Just four years later my mom got brain cancer. Not long after, I held her hand as she took her last breath. In just four years my life turned upside down. Tracy and I had three young daughters who loved their grandparents so much, and just like that, they were gone. My family was devastated. However, in our darkest time, God was there. He felt our pain. He heard our prayers. He gave us peace and comfort in a time when our whole world seemed to be crashing down.
It makes me think of Naomi in the Book of Ruth. This was during the time of the Judges when Israel had lost God’s favor. God was finished sending them a Judge to deliver them. Israel was dealing with famine, so the times were dark for them. They got darker for Naomi. She not only lost her husband Elimelech, she also lost her two sons, Mahlon and Chilion (Ruth 1:3-5). Naomi was in deep grief. She thought God was afflicting her and she became bitter (Ruth 1:11-21).
We seem to blame God when trials, tribulations and tragedy strikes us, don’t we? God, however, blessed Naomi with two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Ruth was a gift from God to Naomi because she loved her and was there by her side. After Ruth met Boaz and married him, she bore a son. The woman said, “Blessed is the Lord, who has not left you without a redeemer today; and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him. Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap and became his nurse (Ruth 4:14-16). The baby was named Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse becomes the father of David (verse 22). Through this lineage Israel triumphed to her greatest heights of glory and where the Savior of the world came through.
Although times were dark and grim for Israel and Naomi, God is behind the scenes at work for His people. When we think He is farthest from us or that He has turned against us, He is paving the roads of greater happiness for us. We cannot forget Jesus is there with us in our darkest times, in the times we may feel alone and helpless. Blessed be the Lord who has not left us.