Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Wilderness Chronicles; Day 6

Holding on while letting go

"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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if ANYTHING BUT DEATH SEPARATES YOU AND ME ". Ruth 1:15-17

I re-read the book of Ruth recently and when I got to the passage above, I paused for a moment. Why did Ruth choose to go with Naomi? Ruth was a Moabitess living in Moab, she grew up in Moab, went to school in Moab, got married in Moab, lost her husband in Moab, her parents lived in Moab, her friends were in Moab, her occupation was in Moab, her life was in Moab. She knew Moab, it may not have been great but she knew it like the palm of her hand. Why go on a journey with Naomi, Naomi had no source of income, she was a widow, she didn't even have a plan of what she would do when she got back to Bethlehem, yet Ruth chose to go with Naomi. I believe there was something she learnt about the relationship Naomi had with God and that somehow her destiny was tied to Naomi. On the surface, her decision may have looked stupid, crazy or senseless yet she chose to put her trust in God and not circumstances.

How many times do we sense God leading us in a direction that makes no sense, God telling us to do things that may make our friends think maybe we should get committed to a mental care unit? I don't know if God told Ruth she would get married again if she went with Naomi although I doubt it, what I know is that she committed to follow Naomi into an uncertain future, the only certainty being that God was with her. I'm not sure I've got to that level of trust in God but that's why we're in the wilderness isn't it? The fact that the wilderness is a place we go through on our own doesn't mean the rest of the world stops existing. You can be in the wilderness and have to be a wife and mother, you can be crying to God at night and have to wake up in the morning and minister to the saints, it doesn't matter where the wilderness meets you, be rest assured that the Lord is with you and if He has called you to it, He will call you through it.

Ruth embraced the changing seasons of her life, in the wilderness she learnt that there is a love that goes deeper than anything a mortal man or woman can give. That even though her husband was dead, Jehovah Jireh was alive. Ruth made a decision like Abraham to move away from the familiar and hold God's hands as she stepped beyond her comfort zone. The word says that Ruth went out into the fields to glean. In the wilderness, we have to 'go out' of ourselves, mentally, emotionally because if we don't go out, we will never 'go in' to Boaz's field. Because she was willing to make a move, God moved on her behalf. I am learning that even though God's word is true, I must co-operate with Him for destiny to be fulfilled. Don't cut yourself off from life and living while in the wilderness, don't get lost there, hold on to God.

Saying Yes Lord means saying No to the devil. We can't have both. I'm either on the Lord's side or on the enemy's side. You cannot be in both Moab and Bethlehem, I ask myself if I can humble myself to pick up leftovers just so that I can be in God's will? Can I? Can you? One thing I know, there is a day of humility but there is also a day of exaltation. He has promised to exalt us in our due season. Ruth's name is found in the genealogy of Jesus. A widowed immigrant with no job, no matter what you look like today, God can change your story. It can be suddenly, it may take a while but change is coming.

The Book of Ruth is a short story, so many things left unsaid but I've learnt a new theme, a new principle for adapting to life in the wilderness. Letting go of all that the Lord wants me to let go off, holding on to God and His promises. It will be hard but Lord hold me even when I want to let go. Isn't it funny that in the day of the storm, it is God we usually want to let go off and hold on to the 'things' we think will see us through. Lord, help me not to get it mixed up.

Tears fall from my eyes
As I pick the leftovers
My back hurts
As I pick the leftovers
Friends laugh
As I pick the leftovers
Enemies mock
As I pick the leftovers
Family misunderstands
As I pick the leftovers
Feel like giving up
As I pick the leftovers
Asking God why
As I pick the leftovers
When God when
As I pick the leftovers
As I pick the leftovers
As I pick the leftovers
God sees me
As I pick the leftovers
God loves me
As I pick the leftovers
My change is coming
As I pick the leftovers
I'll still praise God
As I pick the leftovers
Praise God for leftovers
As I pick the leftovers
The God of the leftovers
is the same God of the harvest!


Rita said...

This is a beautiful expose on Ruth and i tell you, I always muse over that verse when I get there.

I hope these chronicles do not end. They are indeed thought-provoking and inspiring.

Myne Whitman said...

I second Rita. Thanks for sharing these insights, I'm really gaining by them.

Truth said...

The God of left overs always uses it to move us ahead. God will continue to use you to give us more insight into what our wilderness situation will work out for us. Thank you very much for making yourself available to be used by Him

Tisha said...

This encourages me
i switch off the material world
and stay in the spirit

nothing to be gained by staying in the physical...

(let me clarify: I switch off my senses, anything according to sensory perception and stay in the word of God)

disgodkidd said...

this spoke to me

chichi said...

i love the poem it captures everything a christian feels in the wilderness, wanting to quit, wanting to die just like elijah. but the God of the mountain is still God in the valley!

wow! i just got encouraged. thank u Lord, be our guide and strength. help us trust and when we can't jesus help us.