By Rebecca Ryan
The house is radiant and welcoming. The rich, oaken floors have been immaculately polished by hand, emitting a fresh citrus aroma that makes you feel right at home. Every window in every room glistens, making the vibrant verdant forest and crystal blue skies beyond appear most alluring, more like picturesque paintings specially crafted to enhance each perfectly adorned room.
Unhurried and relaxed, the host personally welcomes her guests, offering them handmade hors d’oeuvres and savory wine. Merry couples trail in, laughing and holding hands. There is much laughter and sharing of hearts as the guests mosey about enjoying the warmth of each other’s presence. Host and guests alike release a sigh of relief that the perfectly planned evening is…perfect.
Yet it is tried and true that there is trouble in paradise. No amount of scrubbing or polishing can prevent it. Without warning a blast of wind slams open the heavy, custom-made front door. Like a feather, the firm façade is swept away. A few of the guests drop their fine china in shock as several frames shatter to the ground. Even as the determined host hurries to refasten and perhaps deadbolt the front door, stronger gusts of wind send the beautiful age-old trees crashing into the pristine windows.
Fear-gripped guests begin to gather their belongings and take leave, mumbling embarrassed apologies along the way. A few minutes later, the host is left in tears as she watches the lovely evening deteriorate before her eyes. Only two faithful guests have decided to stay, hurrying from room to room picking up broken glass, attempting to recreate some sense of decency. The party is over.
Defeated, the host crumples into a wine-stained velvet chair. She bitterly tries to persuade the two remaining guests to go back to their own calamity-free homes and not worry about her. One of the guests dismisses the idea immediately, boils a kettle of tea for them both and takes a seat at her host’s feet. As for the other? You guessed it, she’s gone.
It may or may not go without saying that our host here is Naomi, the faithful guest is Ruth, and the homebound guest is Orpah. To be transparent, I can’t say I blame her! The phrase that comes to mind when I consider Orpah’s decision is All dressed up with nowhere to go. I meet her there in the ruins of the party…elegantly adorned amidst the rubble thinking, What now?
These “what now” moments are particularly devastating when suddenly the veil drops and it becomes blatantly clear that we aren’t in control. What’s more, the devastation doesn’t come from the realization that we aren’t in control, but in admitting that the places we directed our hope and identity were of this earth. Our spirits crave more than what the earth has to offer, which is why a portion of eternity, the Holy Spirit, has been entrusted to us, aligning us with heaven rather than earth.
The truth is, we aren’t in charge of the building because we only have access to a small portion of the master plan. Isaiah 64:4 says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him.” Wait. Never fun, always worth it. To wait is not a sign of passive defeat, but of active surrender to the mind-blowing plan of the Creator!
Fast forward however many years to Robert Frost’s poem.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
It’s a road of difficulty, requiring relentless endurance and faith. A road with divine destination. A road where…“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
This is my fuel that never runs out, my unwavering joy even in the toughest moments. Beneath the shelter of His wings we rest. Hallelujah. – Rebecca
Rebecca Ryan is a twenty four year old Birmingham native with a heart for music, nature and the written word. When it comes to life, she has decided to put the pen down and let the true author take over, as His story is the only one truly worth reading. To read Rebecca’s full BoP Bio, click here.