Ruth 1:8-9 (MEV): Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,” Go, return each to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with your deceased husbands and with me. May the LORD grant that you each find rest in the house of another husband.”
This story reminds me that I have choices to make when I am facing trials. My sufferings lead me to crossroads in life and I have to make decisions that may affect the rest of my life. One choice is to return to things familiar, even if it means I forsake God, and of course the other choice is to keep moving towards God. When my thoughts are clear, it seems like the choice is obvious, which brings me to the next choice; I can choose to blame God for my troubles, or I can trust God that He has my life in His hands and move closer still to Him. Many people choose to blame God when one of their loved ones die, but I don’t think God is responsible at all. He has broad shoulders and will let me work through my grief, even if it means I turn my back on Him. God sees my hurts and my pains and He will wait patiently for me to reach out to Him once again.
Ruth 1: 16-17 (MEV): But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and worse, if anything but death separates you and me!”
Also, when I have troubles, there may be people who walk away from me, and there may be people who will lift me up and encourage me. Ruth is an example of a true friend. I think this is how God wants us to be to others. God wants me to lay aside my problems and reach out to someone else who is hurting. Both women were grieving, but in reaching out and helping someone else (Naomi), it was Ruth who was helped in the long run. When I do unto others, God will do unto me!
As I have mentioned before, I am a strong believer in the power of words and what you say over yourself impacts the way you think, and the way you act, and the way you perceive things:
“It is much more bitter for me than for you, for the hand of the Lord has turned against me”(v.13)
“Call me Mara, because the Almighty has brought great bitterness to me”(v.20)
“I was full when I left, but the LORD has caused me to return empty.” (v.21)
“The Lord has opposed me.” (v.21)
“The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (v.21)
Unfortunately, if I were God, I wouldn’t want to bless someone who is going around town saying these things. But fortunately, I am not God! God is bigger than my negative words. He sees my heart and knows my pain. Sin entered the world, and thus so did death. It is not God’s desire for anyone to die, for there is no dying and pain in heaven, but on earth, alI have free will and that causes things to go awry and to spill over and touch those around them. It is what I have to remember when I face troubles. Hurts can make you bitter or they can make you better. Naomi chose bitter, Ruth chose better.
I want to be a Ruth to a Naomi, to walk next to someone even when all they can see is their emptiness.
Sometimes it is like that with God. I can feel so alone and desolate, but God is still right there, beside me, every step of the way. Like Naomi, I may not see God at work in my life, but that doesn’t mean He is not working. It takes time for me to walk through my issues, but that doesn’t mean that God has deserted me! It is often when I am on the other side of my trials that I can look back and see how God was truly working. Who is the Ruth in your life? Who is the Naomi in your life? Ruth gave of herself to Naomi and the Lord blessed Ruth with protection, food, and kindness from others. Those blessings spilled over to those around her (Naomi). Ruth has a beautiful heart and spirit. She is someone I would like to imitate.
Acts 3: 4-5 (MEV): Peter, gazing at him with John, said, ”Look at us.” So he paid attention to them,
expecting to receive something from them.
Sometimes I need to see the people that I am talking to. Sometimes I listen with my ears, but my eyes may be looking downwards. I can remember that one time my sister bent over trying to make eye contact with me. That is what this verse reminds me of. When someone is speaking to me, I should look at them, and give them my full attention, because I will never know the things they may speak, or do, that will bring me wisdom and blessings.
Acts 3: 8 (MEV): Jumping up, he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.
Some of you may not know this about me, but I have two feet that think they are flippers instead of feet. I can walk with braces or other helps, but I cannot jump or run. But I can still praise God! Like this man, I believe I will be able to walk and jump and praise God. I can see where I was, and I can see where I am today. So much healing has already happened, so my faith tells me there is more to come. I am not giving up and I know God will not give up on me!
Acts 3: 17-21 (MEV): Now brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold through all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He thus fulfilled. Therefore, repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the one who previously was preached to you, Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive until the time of restoring what God spoke through all His holy prophets since the world began.
I have been told of many things that will come, just like they were. Will I miss the signs? Will I make bad decisions that I will later regret? God gives me many chances to get things right. I need to be strong, courageous, brave and confident in my faith to speak like Peter. I want the refreshing that comes from the presence of the Lord. I want to be ready and not ignorant.
Father God, I so want to have a heart like Ruth, one that is willing to encourage the down-trodden, and to lift them up. I want to serve You and not men. Help me to be strong and courageous and ready to help when you call me to serve someone. It is in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!