I wrote a bit the other day on our class’ study of the book of Ruth and, in particular, the trying times (“deserts”) that the characters went through and how God provided a stream for them. Today we finished the book and I’m more in love with it! Over the past year it has quickly become one of my favorite books of the bible and I am able to take something new away from it each time. There is one fact that remains the same each time I read it, though. The love of Ruth and how she was able to change and live her life according to what God was guiding her to do through the people in her life. How she, the unbeliever, eventually became the strength and light for her mother in law and how she was the one God chose to use to make his goodness known.
I have always been in awe of Ruth. It makes me wonder what kind of woman she was like before she married Mahlon. Her physical appearances were obviously a key thing in what attracted him to her and why he chose to marry outside of this faith. To marry a non-believer. However, it is very evident that her being married into this particular family had made her more open and aware of God’s presence and desire to reach her, whether she knew that’s what it was or not. God placed her in the family that she needed at the time so that He could later use her to prove His greatness!
When Naomi grew weak and bitter and depressed from the death of her husband and sons, her faith started to waiver. She was no longer acting as the loving and caring woman of faith she had been before. She grew angry at God and no longer wanted to do His will. She pushed the only loved ones she had away and no longer knew herself because she wasn’t keeping her eyes toward God and having faith that it will all come full circle, in His timing, for good.
I have to believe that this non-believer, who lost her husband, had only a mother-in-law to cling to and a desire to share the love her husband had shared with her during his short life, was what gave her strength. That her being amongst believers, influenced her to where she too would come to believe in God and to live a faith filled life, because I see so much of her life in my own…in it’s own way. I can draw from the lessons that she has to share, about following the directions that believers gave her. Directions that eventually led to her husband’s name being “risen from the dead” and the rebirth of not only a new life for her, but also a new life for her mother-in-law (Naomi), who could have easily been lost to her forever. It’s a very painful thing to see someone you love so much become so emotionally detached, lost and hopeless over events of the past that they allowed to change their hearts.
It may take a week, it may take a decade, or it may take a life time for God to finally have all of the pieces in place for his grande purpose to be fulfilled. One thing is certain though; “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
Ruth remained open and she received the blessings of God sooner. She remained faithful to Naomi and thus fulfilled God’s design for her at that time. Naomi did not, but God used Ruth to show her that He is still in control and that she still matters. He didn’t forget about her or seek to punish her or make her miserable because of her past experiences. He simply had to break her in order to mold her, so her happiness took longer. (It takes longer to get back on track if you get lost and don’t ask for directions)
Tags: Boaz, Commands, Design, faith, Faithful, Love, Naomi, purpose, Ruth
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