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Today’s Truth

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17 NIV).

Friend to Friend

I often hear people say, “It is what it is.” What they mean is, the situation is not going to change, so just accept it; get over it! Let me tell you why I don’t like the saying. “It” rarely is what it looks like it is. In fact, what we think the situation is, usually isn’t what it is at all.

The Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi is a perfect example of something not being at all what it looks like it is. Because of a drought in their hometown of Bethlehem, Naomi, her husband and two sons, moved to Moab. Her sons married Moabite women, but in a ten-year period, all three men died. Naomi heard the famine in Bethlehem was over, so she decided to move back home. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, stayed behind, but the other, Ruth, insisted on going with her.

Naomi was so downcast and discouraged that her very countenance made her unrecognizable to those she had known before. When Naomi heard the whispers as she walked by, she stopped and said, “

Don’t call me Naomi [which means pleasant]. Call me Mara [which means bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me. (Ruth 1:20–21)

I’ve heard the same resentment toward God in the voices of others experiencing disappointment and discouragement. I bet you have too. For some of us, the voice we heard was our own. I can almost hear her saying, “It is what it is!”

It may feel that God is on a long lunch break during our difficult chapters, but remember, He’s always working behind the scenes. He is the Almighty, the All-Sufficient One, whether or not we can feel it in the moment.

God’s hand was not against Naomi. He wasn’t intent on afflicting her, as she claimed. Naomi was so blinded by grief and bitterness she couldn’t recognize God’s gracious provision walking right beside her in the form of a Moabite girl whose name meant “woman friend.”

Once they arrived, she decided to go out and glean wheat behind the pickers—to gather the scraps others dropped while working. Even though she knew it would be dangerous for a Moabite woman to venture into an Israelite field, she took a chance in order to provide for herself and Naomi.

Okay, now, picture this. There must have been dozens of fields she could have picked. Pick a field, any field. She picked one, or did she?

“As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek” (2:3, emphasis added). Another translation says, “Now she just happened to end up in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech” (v. 3 net, emphasis added).

She just happened to end up in Boaz’s field? I hope you don’t believe that for a minute. I can almost see God pointing her in the right direction. Boaz was Ruth’s deceased husband’s kinfolk; a relative Naomi had all but forgotten—though God hadn’t forgotten at all. He was working behind the scenes faster than those gleaners could bundle those sheaves.

In the end, Boaz became Naomi’s go’el, her kinsman redeemer, when he also became Ruth’s husband. Shortly after Boaz and Ruth were married, she conceived and bore a son named Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David, who was in the lineage of Jesus. So, “it is what it is” wasn’t what it was after all.

Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). That means that when we look at a situation and think “it is what it is,” we may have no earthly idea what God’s doing behind the scenes.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I’ll admit, I don’t know what is really going on behind the scenes of Your plan. I know that what I see with my eyes is not all there is to any situation. I trust that You are working out everything for my good, to grow me and shape me into the image of Your Son. And for that I am grateful.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

When is one time in your life when you thought you knew what was going on, but later realized you didn’t?

More From the Girlfriends

What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? I know that they can!

Everyone likes a good story, but not everyone likes their own story. My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out our difficult chapters but repurpose them for good?

In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. 2021 might just be the year to turn your story around and write a different ending. Click here to join Sharon’s FREE online When You Don’t Like Your Story Bible Study running February 15 – March 8.

© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

6 Responses to “It Rarely “Is What It Is””

  1. Lisa says:

    Dear Sharon, I really needed to read this devotional today. In the last 3 months, I have lost my mom to cancer, almost lost my husband in a bicycle accident ( he had 8 broken ribs, pneumothorax, damage to his aorta, and 2 broken shoulder bones), and now this week I took my brother to his Dr. and he told us he most likely has ALS. I know that it’s not “It is what it is” and like you said, God is working behind the scene. I have to believe that. I am a RN and theses family circumstances have hit me very hard. I need to be strong especially for my brother.
    So thank you for your devotional, I will be reading and re-reading this one frequently.
    Blessings fo you,
    Lisa

  2. carol says:

    Thank you, for this helpful posting today.
    Have to admit: I’ve been feeling as discouraged as Naomi lately.
    Due to all of our circumstances in this dark time…isolation, trying weekly to get vaccinated, not being able to attend church, I’m experiencing almost a real imprisonment mentality.
    But, I know spiritually, God has his sleeves rolled up, and is working on our behalf!
    I don’t know how it all will turn out, but, I do know, He loves us and His plan is the best for us.I know we have the promises of the book of Jeremiah, we are standing on the shoulders of the prophets to be parts of the greatest story ever told!
    So, today is the day I have to pull myself out this mental “cistern” and realize that God has this!!
    Thank You, Sharon for your prayer today…I needed that.

  3. Carola says:

    Hola
    Novia,mi esposo apellida Bernabé,que significa consolador Dios lo puso a mi lado para eso consolar, A veces escucha.y consuela.se Que Dios está trabajando para se cumpla el propósito del apellido. Y de muchas cosas más.

    😇💖

  4. Wendy says:

    Sharon,

    I always begin my day with the GIG devotional in my inbox. Today’s was especially helpful. Thank you for choosing your words so carefully and weaving connections between scripture and the often difficult realities we face in our own lives. Although I know God is behind the scenes and in control, my bruised heart does not always believe that truth. It is easy to feel stuck and bitter rather than faithful and pleasant. Thank you again for the reminder that God is never on His lunch break 🙂

  5. Awesome word! Thank you

  6. Carolyn says:

    Thank You so much for your words of encouragement. I’ve been praying and waiting for God to give my husband and I a baby. I’ve been praying for a long time..10 years, I’m now 45 years old. I believe in my heart that God will do this, that He IS doing this – I know it. He lifts my head to Him everyday, some days He has little more lifting to do than others 🙂 I met my husband 10 years ago. I was 35, still single, and living in the small town I grew up in. My brothers live in California, and they wanted me to move out there with them. I thought that maybe my husband was in California, because I certainly wasn’t meeting him where I was. I decided that I’d work in a local restaurant for a few months to save some money to move. As it turns out, my husband owned the restaurant, and we’ve been married now for 8 years – and all the while, we lived around the corner from each other! Yes, God is always working. …I should add that for various reasons, I felt like a big fat failure when I took that job at the restaurant. It was an industry I did NOT want to work in, I was in a place I did not to be. What I saw, and what God saw were two totally different things!! Have faith sisters!

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