Weekly Devotion – October 7, 2019

Ruth 1:1-19a

It’s easy to romanticize the Biblical stories and characters, to take them out of our world, our history, our humanity and place them in a stylized display case. Polished. Perfect. Their lessons of faithfulness in God completely cut off from how we deal with things in our lives.

There’s very little romantic in Ruth’s story but a great deal tragic. She loses her father-in-law, husband, and brother-in-law. She has no idea what her life might hold, but she has no reason to presume it’s going to be blessed or beautiful in any substantive way. She clings to Naomi, but without any assurance this might turn out to be a wonderful and amazing gift from God. God was faithful to Ruth and chose to work through her in a very special way which Ruth was not privy to in advance. Ruth had to trust God would be with her as she finished the slow trek to a foreign country and culture with her mother-in-law, but had no idea what that would substantively look like.

As we go through difficult times in our lives it’s easy to assume God must show us the solution, give us a sneak preview of how it’s all going to turn out, and that it’s unreasonable to continue operating in ‘blind’ faith when all worldly hope seems gone. I’ve worked with more than a few Christians who question or turn on God when things in their lives don’t turn out exactly the way they want. But this hurts! But this isn’t fun! But this is hard! Sometimes this is true. Much like it was for Ruth.

Yet the essence of faith is a trust in God beyond the moment to what lies ahead. Whether this means a new hope in this life or eternal life is up to God, not us. Yet we can know God is faithful, and has secured our lives in him eternally through faith in the death and resurrection of the Son of God on our behalf. If Ruth had turned back home, she would never have found the grace of God at work in her life in the same enduring way. Yet by persevering in her faith despite the uncertainties of what lay ahead, we are reading about her today, nearly 3500 years later! We are encouraged by her example of what faith looks like – pressing on with God rather than turning away when things get difficult, expecting we will see his faithfulness played out in ways we could never have predicted or imagined.

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