Human Pain & Heartache—Divine Providence & Love Jason Malone - 4/24/2022 Ruth 1 Audio Sermon Notes (PDF) Ask a Question SCRIPTURE: Ruth 1The complexity and messiness and nuance of our lives can often be addressed in response to two questions that sit either at the forefront of our conscious thoughts or they sit in the background of our daily lives based on how things are going from our current perspective: Is God really in control of my life?Does God actually care about me?As a reminder, here are the last words of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).” So this time is characterized by darkness, idolatry, and spiritual confusion. And yet the Lord remained faithful to his covenant people throughout and The Book of Ruth...well it’s going to be quite the picture of God’s faithfulness...his divine providence and his divine love.This book of Ruth is one whole narrative. Chapter one isn’t intended to offer resolution but, frankly, introduces more tension that will be addressed in the coming chapters and over the next three Sundays. SO...you kind of have to keep coming back each week. I don’t think you would turn off a movie 30 minutes in and expect to know precisely what happens, the same has to be said for Naomi’s story and Ruth’s story. We are just in Act I here.But one thing we can do today is contemplate some things personally based on what we read through today: Where do you currently think the Lord is in the midst of your pain and crisis? Do you believe that he actually cares in regards to what you or your loved ones are walking through? Do you believe that God is more than just a small player in the story of your life? Do you live as if God checks in and checks out on you? Sometimes he’s present. Often he seems absent? Do you believe that God is actually operating in your life for your good and his glory even though you can’t see that through the fog of your pain?All of life is an invitation to trust in the foundational hope of God’s providence and God’s love for his people, but it’s hard. We see that in this story. But even in the hard, we can see glimpses of the reversals that are coming, the fulfillment of promises that the Lord will accomplish in our lives and in our world if we have eyes to see them and a heart to believe. And the really beautiful thing about Ruth's story is that nothing happens in isolation. Because even in the midst of what seems so hopeless...we do have a living hope because his divine providence and his divine love are always at work...for your ultimate good and his glory and fame.All of life is a story involving regular people…regular people (just like Naomi and Ruth) driven by the questions that we’ve asked — Is God really in control of my life? Does God actually care about me?*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.