Perhaps you remember in the late 90’s a piano-playing team of great grandmothers called “Ebony and Ivory” who complemented each other like the black and white keys they played. Ebony was 75-year-old Margaret Patrick. Ruth Eisenberg, who at the time had turned 86, was Ivory.
Partly paralyzed by strokes in 1982, the two women met while attending a program for stroke victims at a senior center. The program director introduced them, suggesting, “You have something in common. Put your two good hands and your heads together, and see what you can come up with.”
They did! With Ebony’s left hand playing bass and Ivory’s right hand playing the treble, the unusual team held concerts all over New Jersey, the nation and internationally. They also performed on television many times too.
In the Bible, Ruth and Naomi overcame paralyzing circumstances to make a great team, too. Their plight is familiar to most that have read the Bible or attend church. The death of Naomi’s husband and two sons left her desolate and determined to return from Moab to her homeland in Bethlehem. Since her daughters-in-law were Moabites, Naomi expected them to stay in their country. But Ruth had become a follower of the true God and insisted on going with Naomi (Ruth 1:14-18). Ruth’s poetic promise of loyalty to Naomi and to the Lord sounds fresh every time we read it … doesn’t it?
Naomi didn’t expect much when she returned to her homeland except hardship and poverty. She may have felt forgotten by God, (have you ever felt this way?) but God hadn’t forgotten Naomi (and He hasn’t forgotten you!). In Naomi’s situation, God had already begun exercising His faithfulness to her when Ruth had decided to return with her. Naomi didn’t know this….but, God did!!! Ruth was not only a faithful companion, but the means of securing both women’s future through her marriage to Boaz.
But, who knew this when Naomi left Moab to return home? Not Naomi! Not Ruth! But God did!!!
Listen, the odds were greatly against a piano future for either Ebony or Ivory, but God made a way for them. The odds were equally as great against Naomi and Ruth (1:11) but, God beat the odds.
Perhaps you are facing some seemingly ‘impossible odds.’ It may be health related, a personal relationship or a financial situation. Whatever it is, remember, God can beat the odds!
The writer is the pastor at First Baptist Church, 309 E. North St., Sidney.