Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ruth, Predecessor of Greatness

Have you ever really considered Ruth? The Ruth from the Bible, I mean.

I have no idea of her age, but she is the widow of a foreign man, left in a household of women. When we study her she is a paragon of virtue. Her words, though spoken to her mother-in-law, are used in weddings everywhere:

"Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. 

                                                                Ruth 1:16, KJV (because it sounds pretty)

I thought of Ruth during this truly epic move, and felt a little blasphemous - because my first reaction upon reading the book of Ruth during this season of my life was...."Wow, Moab must have sucked!"

Now, before you pull out your pitchforks and bonfire materials, bear with me for a moment.

Ruth jumped (willingly!) into an unknown situation, following her mother-in-law to a land where she was the foreigner, and where she became responsible for said mother-in-law's well being.

I am completely spazzing right now!

What was she thinking?

But, then I look at the end of Ruth. She has a son named Obed. And Obed fathers Jesse, who is the father of David.

Was Ruth always meant to follow Naomi back to Israel to be David's grandmother, and ultimately part of the lineage of Jesus?

The plans of God are far beyond my comprehension. I do not know how they are fashioned, if we change them with our choices......shrugs.....I don't know!

Don't tell my children I said that, by the way.

But, I did see an interesting quote the other day from Walter Ciszek that said the following: "Each of us has no need to wonder what God's will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation every day. The temptation is to overlook these things as God's will. The temptation is to look beyond these things...to seek to discover instead some other and nobler "will of God" in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be."

That, my friends, is SCARY.  Because if every day in my life - if every circumstance - is part of the will of God... 

Then, "the answer lies in understanding that it is these things - and these things alone, here and now, at this moment - that truly constitutes the will of God. The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act upon it, every moment of every day." 

We tend, as Christians, to say that the good is from God and the challenges always evil. But, Ruth's challenge fulfilled God's purpose. It was not an outcome she could have foreseen - being the grandmother of one of Israel's greatest kings, a man after God's own heart. Instead, she walked, taking each day - each circumstance - as the will of God. 

For me, this idea has many scary and hurtful pitfalls. 

It means that we have experienced the will of God when:

we've struggled financially.

we've lost our children.

we've lost our job.

we've moved half way across the country.

we've left our homeland and family and friends.

I don't know that I'm ready to accept that idea. And maybe there is a fine line between accepting your circumstances as God's will and thinking that they are his fault.


  1. Thanks for sharing. :) I have to send you a link post-bedtime when I have a chance to hunt it down.

    1. Okay, so I went to dig out the link that I had in mind earlier, and what I remembered of it turned out to be more of a mingling of 2 different blog entries that I had read the same day, lol. :P (Don't Change the World and Anything, Anywhere) What I took away from them collectively may have been somewhat of a minor point, so the connection here might be a stretch. Either way, you might like her blog.

      What I personally got out of these was along the lines of that idea that the will of God is in those everyday moments that we tend to overlook, the times we tend to consider the minor details or even "life that gets in the way."

      Example from my life: Breakfast might be just something to get over with quickly so we can get on with our plans for the day without fainting, or it might be an opportunity to calm my mental to-do list, which is usually screaming at me, and sit with my kids over waffles as they expound upon what they want to be when they grow up. Not that every moment is going to be perfected, BY FAR, haha! You know that 2 seconds later they are at each others throats and I wish that I could just put myself in extended time out.

      But the will of God is there, in the choice to just be together at breakfast instead of rushing through it. And the will of God is there in those moments when our kids are driving us totally batty and we stop and find a way to tend to our own needs - ALONE or out with a friend or whatever waters our souls - for the beauty that are in those "for us" moments themselves and for the strength they give us to make it through all those other moments. ;) This scares me too, because I've messed up a whole lot of those "small" moments, and the only way to make the best of the rest of them seems to be just to get over them again and again and keep trying anyway, over and over. Small victories.

      For what it's worth, I don't believe that bad circumstances are ever the will of God. Obviously, I've led a different life, different circumstances, but I have done my share of blaming God for this "plan" he's got going on. I have done years of, "Where ARE YOU? Life kind of SUCKS. WTH." I have had years full of fear and bitterness.

      Sometimes I wonder if God's plan isn't so much a timeline of events but merely to love. "Just" love, as if love is some simple thing, right? But more or less, isn't that his will in those moments? Go love. Love people in whatever way it seems fitting for the person you are, and for me that also requires accepting forgiveness for myself in order to choose freely without guilt. I'm preaching to myself a ton here, if you couldn't tell, so if I'm way out in left field, sorry about that.

      I would dare say that taking care of your family in the best way that seems fit under the circumstances, even if it means moving somewhere far, far away that isn't even Maine(!), is definitely something that lines right up with his will. If sometimes you wonder if maybe it's actually God's fault, honestly I think that's a totally valid question to consider. Sometimes the asking difficult questions is necessary and I don't think God expects us to turn off our brains to follow him or know him. But maybe God is merely thinking on another level with smaller moments in mind. *HUGE SHRUG*

      Sorry for babbling on and not even having any real answers, lol. I always appreciate when people are willing to put a piece of their real selves into a blog, and I feel inspired to be real back, even if I'm the queen of scatter brain. I'm going to hit publish now before I wuss out and go to bed. :P

    2. Love you Carlie! I'm glad you didn't wuss out. And I get what you're saying - and it's what I was trying to hint at...that the will of God is every moment, every day. We LIVE it. That, too, is where the fine line is - not blaming Him, but accepting that these things can be His will, too - but not His fault.

      Thank you for reading! I was so nervous.

  2. You blow me away! I wish I had more time in life to sit at the feet of great intelligent women like yourself! I'm a sponge! Keep writing! Very inspiring! Gotta re read through Ruth!