“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 ASB
The book of Ruth is one of my all-time favorites because it is all about a woman’s loyalty, determination and capacity for provision. I have loved it so much so that inscribed on my husband’s wedding ring is “Where you go, I will go”. And with almost 5 moves in 9 years, I think I am keeping that promise!
It is a story of Ruth, a widow in a famine land, who receives the goodness and kindness of Boaz, the owner and harvester of a plentiful field. Rahab is Boaz’ mother and so Ruth becomes part of the genealogy of King David as well as Jesus. The plot is artfully constructed and exhibits a pronounced belief in the complete, but sometimes hidden provision of God that works in ordinary events. Brief as this book is and simple as it’s story, it is remarkably rich in its examples of faith, patience, culture & industry of the time, and kindness which is an indication of how God takes care of those who put their trust in Him.
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.” Hebrews 11:31 ASB
I have been reading the book of Joshua in which a woman named Rahab is discussed and is instrumental in saving God’s people by one simple act of hiding two godly men.
She was listed as a “harlot” or prostitute in the Bible. But she is a true hero to me because of her actions in the face of adversity. In the New Testament, Rahab is mentioned as a great example of faith and the book of Matthew aligns her lineage to Jesus. She is an example that God doesn’t just look at what we’ve done in the past (good or bad), but what we are capable of doing in our present & future. Sometimes, it’s just one small act of openness and strength to go against the culture that changes our future.
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breadth“. Psalm 34:18 The Message
First of all, I’m always amazed by the wording in the Message bible. Sometimes, it’s so lyrical and other times, it is so, so casual.
At church this weekend, the pastor spoke about the book of Job. Most people don’t preach on it because it’s a difficult depiction of pain and suffering. But what I loved about how my pastor shared was that we will not have all of the answers, God does not answer to us, we can’t make him fit into our mindset and that everything we are and everything we have is from him. He went on to say that he is the type of person who demands answers, needs to know the why and how of a situation….all aspects to which I can relate. But regardless of how we feel, think or believe….whether we believe or not, it doesn’t change God. I have a friend who is a atheist and something I always tell her is that whether we believe or not, it doesn’t change what is. And no matter how good we are or how well we live this life, we WILL experience trials and tribulations….and some not a punishment or brought about by our own doing.
One thing he mentioned that I thought was interesting is that sometimes lessons learned through difficult journeys are not learned otherwise. I feel like saying, God, I can learn it without the pain, really. But maybe no one can. All one has to do is read the book of Job and I can guarantee that you can not feel sorry for your situation after.
The teaching has given me a lot to ponder….
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” John Burroughs
So the day finally came…..I always thought I was prepared, I’ve experienced this before, so many families go through this and it’s just part of the job, I knew this before I got married, etc. But then I realized it’s not other people….it’s me and I’m sad, my children are sad and why do I have to witness my 6 yr old crying at the airport holding on to the love of his life, all he holds dear, his sense of security, his best play buddy and thensome walk away. It’s actually like going through the stages of grief in a way. I think I’ve moved quickly to “acceptance”…..well, only because one has to.
I received a book for Christmas that contains verses as words of encouragement for “busy” people…..given the fact that my spouse deployed the very next day would rank “busy” as an understatement of the year! So I found the book timely and love reading scriptures because no matter how many times I’ve heard them, I often receive new meaning depending on where I am in my life at the time. So another aspect of the book I found coincidental was the number of verses listed was close to the number of days of our deployment. So my plan is to take a verse each of these days and see what it has in store for me! It should be an interesting ride.
Day 1 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV
Wow, when I read this at the end of today, I found it powerful because I really needed mercy and comfort. I felt so frustrated with my children this morning….and on our way to church no less. So when I asked them to forgive me for being irritable and stressed, they showed me much mercy and love. We had a family meeting and talked about how we can work better as a team (they are little, but my son plays sports so he loves anything with a “team” theme). I found that we all needed just a little comfort during this transition as we’re adjusting to our new paradigm. At first, I thought the word “tribulation” seemed too strong for my situation…..we are healthy, loving and have a good support system while apart. But one of its definitions is just a “trying experience” so I would say ours qualifies!
So tomorrow is a new day!