Becoming a father was an eye-opening experience for me. I was young, immature, and unwise. I could barely eat a bowl of cereal without spilling milk down my shirt, and I was supposed to feed a child? Then God gave us a second little one. Good grief! Let’s just say that I was confused about God’s plan for me.
I’d like to say I’m a perfect Instagram parent who is always smiling with my perfect, smiling kids. But the Lord knows that’s the farthest thing from the truth. It’s often a struggle. But as my daughters have gotten older, God has taught me that children are a great blessing, and that I need to rely on Him to have even a remote chance of leading and loving them well.
Boaz and Ruth were older when they had Obed, so Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi was even older! She was bitter, and afraid she’d have no child to redeem her family. She was dying for a child to redeem her distress.
Not only did God give her a long-awaited baby through Boaz and Ruth, He gave her a baby who would “sustain her in her old age” (Ruth 4:15). Obed was a blessing far beyond Naomi’s wildest dreams. His birth taught her that God surely would provide, even when everything looked hopeless. This baby would serve to change her heart toward God.
As the Bible goes on, we see that Obed wasn’t merely a redeemer for Naomi; he was another child in the line leading to the One who is called “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Obed’s birth led to the birth of the world’s Redeemer—the One who would give us new birth (John 3:3).
It’s tempting to look back at Naomi’s situation and scold her for being impatient or for doubting God’s faithfulness. But we all do it, everyday, when we choose lesser gods over Him. Our lack of faithfulness reflects our doubt that God’s Word is faithful and true. As a parent, I’m constantly overlooking God’s grace to me through my children. When they disobey or drive me up the wall, it pushes me to rely on God a little more. And I love God more today than I did three years ago because of what He has taught me through my girls.
Though our children are blessings, they aren’t the true and better blessing of Jesus, the Child sent into the world to redeem it. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth,” says Psalm 127:4. I hope that, despite my doubting in God’s faithfulness to me, I’m able to launch my daughters into the world like gospel-lit arrows, always remembering that it is God’s Son who determines their path.
Written By Brandon D. Smith