When life serves up a crisis there are usually two choices served up with it. You can go it alone or you can cling to someone (or something).
In my view, going it alone is rarely the right response. For some of us, self-reliance is a natural instinct. Whether due to pride, shame, fear or past negative experiences, we choose to face our giants in isolation.
But the Bible tells us multiple times not to lean on our own understanding, and if we catch ourselves doing it, to stop!
Recently, I began a tour of the Old Testament. I started around the Book of Joshua and I've been reading through Judges, Ruth and the two Books of Samuel.
I've learned many things, but there are two stories that have been ministering to me and I hope they will minister to you as well.
Both stories answer the question that opened this post: Who are you clinging to?
The first story is from the Book of Ruth. In that story, we meet Ruth and Orpah, two young women who are widowed and left with their mother-in-law, Naomi, herself a widow and the mother of the two deceased husbands.
When Naomi decides that, in her grief, she must return to her people, and by extension, her God, Ruth and Orpah make two very different decisions. Ruth clings to Naomi, her people and her God. The other woman kisses Naomi goodbye.
Later, in the Book of First Samuel, the story is told of another pair of women, Hannah and Peninnah. While Peninnah was fruitful with children, Hannah could not conceive any children for many years.
Peninnah took that opportunity to mock Hannah about her condition. Hannah took the same opportunity to bring her desire to bear children before the Lord, year over year, in weeping, fasting and prayer.
In time, both Ruth and Hannah received answered prayers that greatly exceeded their wildest expectations. Hannah bore many children, including the Judge and Prophet, Samuel and Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David. It would be Hannah's son, Samuel, who would ultimately anoint the shepherd boy, David, as king!
The key takeaway from all of this is that Ruth and Hannah knew who to cling to. In their time of need and crisis, they clung, with bulldog determination, to the belief that no one has to walk alone. Hannah cried out to God and Ruth clung to Naomi, because she was the closest person she had to God.
Sometimes, that's all you have. You may not know God or how to cry out to Him. But if you can "draft" with someone who's moving in God's direction, His wind will carry you where you need to be.
These women remind me of another woman in the New Testament who approached Jesus to heal her daughter. We don't know her name. She's simply referred to as the "Syrophoenician Woman." Jesus told her that her time had not yet come. But the woman persisted and Jesus yielded to her request.
Ruth. Hannah. The Syrophoenician Woman.
What do they have in common? They demonstrate that problems and challenges are just a part of life. The question is not whether they will come. It's a matter of when.
But when the storm winds blow, I pray they won't find you isolated. And if they do, that this post would remind you to turn your face toward God. And if you don't know how to do that, then go find a Naomi to cling to.
But don't go it alone.
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