A strange title – I know. And no, I’m not talking about Ruth in the field, waiting for your husband, or even how awkward it must have been to take advice from your (technically) ex mother-in-law on how to “receive” your husband.
I’m talking about who Ruth was even before she met Boaz. Of course Boaz will come up – because when does he not. But I want you to try for a few moments to just think of Ruth without him.
In my twenties, I can’t seem to find my footing. A season where I don’t feel like I’m either trying to heal from my past, take in the present, or how to properly prepare for my future. And then I sit down to write tonight – and then the Lord shows me Ruth. A woman who, from what most seem had “arrived” as a woman in her day. She married into a family with good character and then expected to have children and leave a legacy and play her part. Until that wasn’t the case. Until she found herself without a husband, without children, and really no clue on what was next. Can you imagine the questions flooding her mind?
“But God, I thought that’s what I had already waited for? What now?”
“God, don’t you see – I don’t have any kids, what do I do? I can’t leave this woman alone – she’s family?”
“But then God, what if I go with her and I’m not accepted, but then I can’t come back?”
“How did I get here? This isn’t what I thought it would be.”
Can you relate? I sure as heck can. Not only on many occasions – but right now. I see a past friend come up on my suggested friends on Facebook, or I’ll glance at Timehop (though I try not to much), and even hear a song that takes me back to my past. And then it dawns on me how long ago that memory actually was. It’s apparent to me – that I’m not in Kansas anymore. But I’m also not at all where I “thought” I would be.
And then I find myself asking similar questions that I feel Ruth asked that day. The day where life just didn’t look like she thought – and what now? And so as I was reading this passage, I wondered just how she got to the point that made her choose and know that she was meant to go with Naomi.
“At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:14-16
It’s really a moment where I don’t know what she must have been thinking – but I can imagine she was struggling. Why else would she tell Naomi “don’t urge me to leave you…;” I mean, I know why I would say that. A decision like that took guts and nerves and it’s one of those faith moments where you’re holding onto God and the right decision by your pinky, but you’re still holding on all the same. Maybe she knew that if Naomi told her one more time to leave – she might just lose the small grip of nerve she had left.
“When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” Ruth 1:18
You see – Naomi saw something in Ruth that made her realize that what she thought was best for Ruth – wasn’t what Ruth thought was best for Ruth.
We can take all of this book and make it about either the gumption of Naomi, the compassion and kindness of Boaz, or the character of Ruth. And I think the one God wrote this story for is clear to be seen as the title of the entirety of its book in the bible – R U T H.
You see, God wanted to teach us something about her. And honestly – I believe specifically for the women.
As women we are loyal, almost to a fault at times. Sometimes our loyalty can blind us from seeing the good from the bad – or the bad to the worse. But most times – we are loyal because we understand that we desire loyalty ourselves. And I believe that is how God designed us. It’s a trait I believe He admires in us – and one that Ruth so preciously demonstrates here.
Ruth didn’t give in. If you read the previous verses, Naomi gives plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t go with her, and her sister-in-law Orpah gave in, but yet Ruth stayed. She didn’t let the fear of the unknown keep her from the place she felt called to go or the person she felt loyal to stick with.
You don’t get two verses into Ruth 2 before she is asking Naomi if she can go work and find them food. And then throughout the entire chapter she works – diligently. She’s not looking for a place even to be apart of the harvesters – just to pick up their scraps. Our generation has become so accustomed to everything being handed to us – that when we show up in situations, spiritually or physically, we expect it to just be ready. And you know what? I don’t know think that is how God intended it to be.
There is a process in the harvest. There is a process in the day in, day out diligence of showing up and harvesting something sown in the season before. Before you can partake in the food that will supply your need, you have to diligently work to receive it.
Now let me stop here and saying that I am not in anyway saying we have to work for God’s love either/or salvation. I am however saying, God will take us through season of BEING a harvester before we ever RECEIVE the harvest. And I believe this is God’s beautiful way of sanctifying us to become the men and women of God we were meant to be. Because as we harvest something already grown – we grow as well.
And if I’m honest, I’ve missed this in the past. I think if I was Ruth – there might be a lot of things I would have done differently. Like maybe I wouldn’t have gone with Naomi in the first place because of fear of rejection or loss of control. Or maybe I wouldn’t have asked to work, because what if they found out who I was – or accused me of stealing? Or maybe I would have gone – but then showed up expecting to be given something I didn’t earn.
I don’t know what I would have done in Ruth’s shoes – but because I feel like God gave me a glimpse on what I might have done, I know what I need to do now.
Stay Loyal to this season. The responsibilities I have in this season are for a purpose. No matter what season or new opportunities may come in the future – in this season, I have to stay loyal and steward well what I have already been given.
Stay Determined in the fight to choose contentment instead of impatience. I have to choose to take each day as a new way to tell my stubborn and selfish flesh no and my genuine heart to honor my Father yes. I have to stay determined to believe that this season is not in vain – but yet very much instrumental in my journey.
Stay Diligent to get up each day and not just go through the motions, but each day live life well. Live each moment intentionally to be present, to see what God is so obviously trying to show me, and to take the moments of rest and waiting as an opportunity to dive more into His word and cling more to His hand.
This blog is in no way giving you “3 Quick Tips to Meet Boaz,” but at the same time – I don’t think its by accident that we don’t find the wife of Boaz (the second most told romantic story of the bible) as a woman just sitting on a stool in the middle of this field just twiddling her thumbs waiting for Boaz to find her. I think that the men of God that I know, and the one I hope to marry would love to have a woman of this character. One who chooses to be selfless over selfish and stay loyal to what and whom they’ve been given in the present. To never give up no matter how hard the situation might be – but stay determined to choose God over their own comfort. And finally, a woman who denies the current wants of the flesh to wait, but yet diligently serve the roles she’s been given.
As I move into this next season – or try to tread through the water of this one, I find myself seeing Ruth as a big sister. Someone who went before me, and now I get to watch how she did it. Was she perfect? No, because who is. But did she exemplify a life of noble character in the midst of a very unexpected life-altering situation? Yes. And If I was Ruth – that’s what I would want to be remembered for.