I wonder what Ruth dreamed about when she was a little girl. I wonder what her plans were, what her heart longed for. I wonder what life story she had mapped out in her mind. I am betting it wasn’t anything like her story ended up playing out.
Ruth who lost her husband.
Ruth who left her homeland and all that was familiar to follow her mother-in-law.
Ruth who chose the God of all creation over the gods of her family.
Ruth who went out to glean in fields unfamiliar to provide for herself and her mother-in-law.
Ruth who was diligent and humble and faithful.
I can’t help but wonder about her out in the fields. Did faith and fingers falter at all as she worked? Did any part of her heart cry out, “This is not my story! This is nothing like my dreams. O God, I do not understand what You are doing.”
I feel certain that is what my heart would have been saying.
Because I have been in that place before. I am in that place now. Where I have this story, this story of what I think I want most and how I think I want my life to turn out. But then painful situations come and things don’t go how I planned or expected and God calls me to do things that make no sense to my human reasoning. And I am seeing how I have this choice – the choice to trust God and His love and His ways and His leading OR I can try to go my own way, to forge my own stubborn path, to demand the pen to write all of this out the “right” way.
And while I may get what I think I want, I am seeing it will be a less than story.
Less than all He has for me and for my family.
Less than what He wants to do in and through my life.
Ruth could have been angry. She could have refused to follow a God who would allow so much pain to come into her life. She could have thrown a fit, turned her back on God, and missed out on His plans completely. How thankful I am she didn’t. How grateful I am that she was an example for me – surrendering her story, trusting God with the details.
God was able to move in powerful ways in her life as she humbly and faithfully followed Him. He opened a door she never would have expected, placing her in the field of a kinsman redeemer, Boaz, who would take her as his wife. Placing her not only by Boaz’s side, but also placing her in the lineage of Christ. Welcoming a woman who was an outsider into His family forever. Welcoming her into HIS story. Tenderly tying her name to that of the Messiah for all eternity. (Matthew 1:5)
When all seemed lost, God still had a plan. When surely nothing made sense to Ruth, God remained sure and steady and true.
I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. I don’t know if maybe you are having days, too, where you are saying to God, “This is not my story!” But I do know this – we can trust Him. We can trust the God Ruth trusted. We can trust a God who would send His own Son to redeem people who are covered in the filth of their own sin. We can trust a love that would endure the cross for us, a love that would go to such extreme lengths to restore us to right relationship with Him. We can trust a God who would write our names, the names of outcasts and outsiders, into HIS story.
We can trust Him.
And that is what I am learning to do. When the days are crazy hard and don’t make sense, when God asks me to be faithful in the small things while my heart is wanting to run off and do “big” things, when He asks me to lay down things I want to cling to for dear life – I am learning to trust Him. To trust that His plans and His ways, they really are good – whether I can make sense of any of it right now or not. (So very glad tearful trust still counts.)
I love you, friends. May we trust Him with our stories. May we truly believe that His plans for us are far more fulfilling than anything we could ever imagine on our own. And may we be found faithful in the fields where He has us.