There is a song that I thought of this weekend called “So Long, Familiar.” It’s from a sermon series Brook Hills did on the book of Ruth and one of their worship leaders wrote songs to fit the series.
You may think: what does the book of Ruth have to do with Staying South?
The book of Ruth has always been a bit of a comfort to me. Ruth was a strong woman with unfortunate circumstances that left her suffering, desperate, and vulnerable. Yet, God saw her and met her in her deepest need.
“So Long, Familiar” was written to be a reflection of Naomi’s (Ruth’s mother-in-law) feelings during the time of her deepest loss. Her husband and sons had just died. She was a childless, bitter widow who was a woman. She had lost it all. She was an outcast living with her two daughters-in-law.
And she was in transition. She didn’t know what the future would hold; and her grief was almost unbearable. This was the point in the story where Naomi and Ruth could have easily turned their backs on God and tried to control the story themselves. Yet, God intervened and wrote the end of the story for them in a way that only He could get the glory. He brought a redeemer to Ruth and Naomi in the form of Boaz and (as we know) Ruth and Boaz end up being a part of the lineage that leads to Jesus.
The point of Ruth and Naomi’s greatest suffering had to occur to bring the greatest glory to God, and God was present there with them.
Suffering can seem so painful and confusing. We ask why when we experience loss or grief. But to realize the presence of the Lord has not left us in the middle of the suffering, to realize He can and will and is using that suffering for His glory, and to realize He is truly good and we can trust Him in the midst of our loss and grief, this is what I long for.
J and I are saying goodbye to many friends and family members right now, we are getting ready to sell our things, we are mourning the loss of ourselves as we know them now, we are getting ready to end our jobs and move and give our puppy to a new family. Everything I know will change. Everything I am familiar with will be different.
Yet I can trust Him. Remembering I can trust Him can ease some of these doubts I have. Remembering to trust Him provides me with hope. And to know that at the end of the day He has already written the end to my story and it ends with His glory is my greatest hope and assurance of all.
So long, familiar.
So long, my whole life.
It’s all gone and I’m trusting You when hope is hard to find.