The last chapter in the book of Ruth consists of Boaz and Ruth’s marriage and then continues on with the genealogy of David.
While reading through the book of Ruth I was overwhelmed by how much God had showed me that I had never realized before, and that still didn’t even scratch the surface of Ruth’s life. I can’t help but wonder about the other half. I wonder what happened to her and Boaz, if they decided to settle down and simply live their lives or if it was something so much more.
I know God only gives us those four chapters for a reason. Maybe so we wouldn’t get lost in their whole lives, but that we could take what He has given us to use and apply in our own lives, and yet here my wandering mind wonders about all the different ways God worked in their lives past the four chapters He gave us.
I think this can be seen in our own lives. God places certain people, friendships, jobs, or things in our lives for a certain season knowing what we need for a specific amount of time, and then with God, being all-knowing and ever faithful, He knows how much we only need it as a lesson or application in our life for that certain season.
As we can see in Job 1:21, “…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
There are certain things in our lives that, in our minds, we may think we need for a longer season than others. But then here is God, who knows every chapter of our story and knows what needs to be placed where for what exact amount of time in order to be beneficial to us or the people around us.
God is so faithful in that way. He knows maybe that thing or job or friendship won’t match the following season of our lives or even their own, so He graciously acts on our behalf.
God is so faithful to break down our own ideas and dreams and desires before they break us.
He is so faithful, but that is only the beginning. It continues on with our faithfulness to Him and that is how we go on to tell of His faithfulness.
Ruth was faithful and obedient to that which God had called her to do, and I’m certain God blessed her for the rest of her life for that obedience.
I’m sure she had trials and disappointments and hurts that followed, but a theme that is seen in God’s Word and I have personally seen in my own life is that God is faithful. And if we are faithful to Him in return it leads to nothing short of a life, deeply rooted in joy, and heavily lined with grace. It leads to a life with Jesus- a life of continually surrendering our everyday to Him in order to live an abundant life for His glory. May our stories be nothing but a reflection of His faithfulness in our lives- just like Ruth’s was.
God is so faithful to break down our own ideas and dreams and desires before they break us.
I set out on a brisk morning run with my feet pounding hard against the cement firmly beneath me, I was determined to get a few miles in and to maybe get some praying done, too. That’s what I usually spend my running time doing, anyway. But this morning was different.
I didn’t really know how to start and after a few minutes I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I muttered a few words and reluctantly ended, mostly out of pent up frustration saying, “God, I’m really bad at this whole Christian thing.” hoping to just leave it at that and go on with my day, like the assurance of admitting that would make up for my lack of spirituality.
As if my level of Christianity was merely dependent upon how many minutes I spent praying or how many chapters of my Bible I had read that day.
For someone who has grown up in a Christian circle, a ministry home, and who was saved at a young age I still really get this whole thing messed up sometimes.
I don’t know. It could be because I try wrapping my mind around something I’ll never really be able to fully grasp or comprehend, and it in turn brings my faith to a halting stop- As if my relationship with God is suppose to be a tangible, concrete faith laid out in front of me rather than a day to day unseen, yet hope-filled one.
I mess up a lot when it comes to this, but God has been teaching me something about wholehearted, consistent faith that comes even when our lives are shaken up a little bit.
Inquiring friends and family and dear readers have asked questions through email, subtle texts and letters about if I was going to write another blog post, but in reality, despite the facade that’s so easy to put on and off through a screen, I really haven’t felt like bringing all my imperfection to a place where it could be read by Christians, who are not much different than myself.
Until the reality of this thought kind of broke my prideful spirit: “Why do we always mask Christianity to be something so different than it really is?”
God didn’t send His son to go through the nail-piercing pain, appalling beatings and repulsive suffering with the expectation that every one of us were going to accept His freely given sacrifice of love, and then simply read our Bibles and pray every day without the struggle of humanity and sin preventing us from doing what we know is right.
We play Christianity so well, and it’s almost scary. We share our Bible verses and prayer request and we go to church, but how many of us can say that the reality of what He did for us on the cross is the underlying basis that moves us to our knees and to live out what we know to be true: He did not suffer and die and rise again three days later with the expectation that we would be the perfect Christians that we paint ourselves to be.
If anything, it brings me to a place of humility where my pride often prevents me from visiting. Except on the rare occasion when my faith becomes so real to me that I recognize how little it has to do with me and how much it has to do with the One who gave His life for me.
I wish we could grasp the truth behind Christianity and the Cross and the empty Tomb because I know it would not only change our lives, but the lives of those around us, as well.
Tomorrow is Easter, and the majority of us won’t be gathered in a physical building or congregated around hundreds of other likeminded believers. But I pray this year more than anything that our hearts would be so overtaken by the sacrifice of love and grace He has bestowed on us, rather than our own talents, abilities, and outfits that we often make it all about each year. I pray we would sing hallelujah over the empty Tomb and not merely for the people around us or because it’s what we do each year.
No, He didn’t go to the cross with the expectation that we would be everything we paint ourselves to be, but He went to the Cross to offer the gift of redeeming redemption- taking the place of what He knew would once be back slidden Christians, the mark of sin and the mask of imperfection we so vividly display.
Christianity has a lot to do with coming to the point in our passionless, mediocre lives where we recognize we are nothing and He is everything. It seems like a simple concept, but we are so self-focused that it produces an apathetic spirit to the point that we fail to live out our Christian lives the way that we should.
It’s a humble place to be, but it’s also so beautiful to know He would go that far when we deserve nothing more than the reality of where sin would have taken us.
I’m thankful for this truth, despite everything I am or lack thereof.
Instead of my heart reflecting my own accomplishments or failures when it comes to a certain degree of spirituality- I pray it reflects Jesus. At the root of it all, it comes down to His nails being pierced to the Cross and the empty Tomb. It is only because of what He’s done in my own life, and nothing that I have ever attempted to try to be, that has made my sin-stained life a grace-filled life.
God often brings me to the sober reality that He would have done it either way, despite what I am or what I have done, and I’m thankful beyond degree for that.
I really feel like Mary and the others when they went to the sepulcher and found it empty. I feel like running back to the homes of those I love to proclaim, “the tomb is empty!” while still feeling a little shell shocked over the reality of it all. I pray we would be like those three on that day so many years ago. That we wouldn’t get over the reality of the Cross or the empty Tomb. That it would be fresh on our hearts just like the day it was discovered, and mostly that we would never get over celebrating who Jesus is and what He has done.
It is a miracle story that I hope takes place as a miracle in our own lives along with those that surround us. If we could only learn to share it as it is, rather than being the shallow Christians we have grown so accustomed to being.
Let it be a reality in your own heart and watch it come to fruition in the lives of those around you. It has to be real, just like the empty Tomb.
He gives & He takes away. It has a lot to do with losing an old friend or buying a new house, with saying a hard goodbye while simultaneously stepping into the unknown. with giving something up in order for something greater to come along. It looks a lot like losing, but in the end we gain so much more. Sometimes it comes in the form of tears and other times it’s a simple smile. We think we know best, yet our best is nothing but a worn down idea of what we think we want or need. We think we can call the shots and have everything just the way we want, but in the end it’s only misfortune and heartache that takes us back to the feet of Jesus, once again. He gives & He takes away. And who are we to decided whether our mediocre lives deserve to be any better or worse? It’s humility wrapped up in its finest form when God decides to take everything we’ve grown to love away. It’s the sense of gratitude at the peak of the mountain top when He gives more than what we once wanted or deserve. Who are we to say otherwise? To simply nod our heads in agreement would suffice. When looking at it from a heavenly perspective it becomes so much more clear that ultimately He’s the one in control despite what we’ve always known. It’s been something we should have surrendered to from the beginning of all our hopes & dreams, and maybe it would’ve led to facing less bitter disappointments in the end- sweet, submissive surrender has always had a way of doing just that.
I can easily write about past events or lessons I’ve already had to learn, but to write about where I’m at right now, what I’m learning, and the areas I’m struggling in is humbling and hard.
Everything you’re going through seems so much deeper when you’re writing about it, and then the thought of people knowing what season of life you’re in is incredibly vulnerable and intimidating, but God’s been burdening my heart about sharing “my now.”
A big percentage of my readers are near my age and going through the same season of life as me, and I recently thought to myself, “It’s so selfish of me to not share what God’s been burdening my heart about when it could be a blessing or encouragement to someone else.”
I’ve been reading my Bible a lot lately, and that’s not something I say to boast about. I say that because I’m in a difficult season of life and I don’t really know what else to do, so I’m clinging ever so tightly to God and His Word to guide me through it.
Sometimes I shy away from talking about reading my Bible or praying because of fear of what people will think, but in reality it’s so humbling. It’s like saying, “I can’t do this on my own.” and recognizing how much you desperately need God.
I registered for college a week ago, and it was the last thing I wanted to do.
I was so, so afraid. It was my second semester and I shouldn’t have had anything to fear, but for some reason I allowed the enemy to use anxiety to almost take me away from the very place God wanted me.
I remember hearing someone say, “The only person that can get you out of the will of God is you.” In the end the decision is yours- it’s not your parents, friends, or even your fear.
I was close to packing my bags and heading back home that day; that’s what I wanted or really, what my anxiety wanted. God is so gracious though.
I’ve been waking up early and I’ve been praying for peace, because some days it’s been really hard to find it in the midst of all my anxious thoughts. There’s always been something about the stillness of when the sun is rising, and light is pouring through the morning sky that has offered a quiet kind of peace, as if God was saying, “You don’t have to do today on your own.”
I asked God where He wants me to be. I thought college didn’t really seem worthwhile and my anxious thoughts interrupted any kind of peace I could have had about it, but God’s been teaching me a lot over the past week alone.
I’m learning that it’s not bad to question God if you’re genuinely searching for an answer.
I’ve been wanting peace of mind. I didn’t want to have to fight the thought of staying or leaving anymore; I was tired of doing that.
Honestly, not much of anything was making sense. I didn’t really understand why God had me in college and I still don’t really know what He is doing, but for some reason I’m learning to be okay with it. I’m learning that when things don’t make sense, He still does. That when I don’t understand, He does. That when I’m afraid, He is near. And that resting in His presence is the only thing that will get me through those things that I don’t really always understand, because I know that His ways are higher than my own. Isaiah 55:8-9.
I’m learning that sometimes it’s not meant for me to know everything, but simply to be still and know that HE is God. Psalms 46:10.
I don’t understand, but I don’t have too, either.
I’m learning to trust in the face of the unknown.
I’m learning to have faith in the midst of my fears.
and mostly, I’m learning things that I wouldn’t ever be learning if God had never placed me in a position of needing to be dependent upon Him.
I get so caught up in doing my own thing and making my own decisions that sometimes God has to place me in a position of depending on Him rather than myself.
My heart for writing all of this is for the one’s out there who may be in a season of doubt, confusion, or fear of the unknowns they may be facing. My heart is that you would feel a little less alone in your struggles, that you would learn to grow in these seasons of life, and that prayer would be your life-line for peace in the midst of your doubts.
This season hasn’t been everything I thought it would be, but nonetheless I’m so thankful for it and for the growth that it has already offered.
I’m thankful that God is good, faithful, and so kind when I’m most undeserving.
For the one’s in a similar season as my own- keep being faithful and you’ll see God is faithful.