The other night, my family and I rented the new Star Wars. The silent ending to the movie screams the question: Who is this girl Rey? Whose daughter is she? (And of course, that’s why there are sequels.)
In movies, unanswered questions frustrate me and make me wish for a screenplay where I could peek ahead. (My friends groan at this.)
In real life, frustration can grow into fear when we’re faced with uncertain circumstances.
How to begin?
That same question may have crossed Ruth’s mind. As we saw last time, she didn’t know what to expect in Bethlehem. She didn’t know how God would provide for Naomi and her, but she trusted He would.
As I think about her story, I find at least three takeaways we can glean from her example.
#1: Do the next right thing.
This is becoming my motto to live by, and the story of Ruth illustrates this idea beautifully. In Bethlehem, things must have been pretty tight for Naomi and Ruth. After all, they had no husbands to provide for them. So Ruth set out to employ herself as a gleaner so that they wouldn’t starve.
In Old Testament days, gleaning was a practice reserved for the poor. They would follow the reapers who harvested the grain and collect “the leftovers.”
Ruth didn’t know where she would glean, but when she found a field, she began to do the only thing she could: pick up whatever the reapers left behind (Ruth 2:1-3).
#2: Find the blessings in the present.
How many of us are guilty of wasting the moment because we’re worrying or wondering about the future?
Ruth’s example shows that such a focus is unproductive. Instead, she bloomed where she was planted, like we talked about a few weeks back. As a result, she established a reputation that did no go unnoticed.
Specifically, by a man named Boaz. The first time he met her, he recognized and praised her decision to stand by her mother-in-law .
And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV)
Later when Ruth presented herself to Boaz at the threshing floor, he again affirmed her character, stating that all the people of the town knew that she was a “virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11).
Ruth made the most of her present circumstances, and as a result, she blossomed.
#3: Trust God to provide.
Even so, Ruth could not have forseen what future blessings God had in store for her. She didn’t know this man Boaz was a kinsman who would one day redeem her.
What she could do was simply trust the Lord God of Israel to be her refuge. He was enough. He would supply and sustain her.
Her story beautifully illustrates that God provides “exceedingly abundantly” on behalf of His children (Ephesians 3:20). Although God may not work the way we expect or imagine Him to work, His provisions are always best.
I like how pastor and author Charles Stanley phrases this idea in his book Every Day in His Presence.
The desire of your heart may take a different form than you expected and may appear in a way you never imagined, but God will keep His word.
Whether we’re starting over or simply turning a new leaf, Ruth’s story and the faith she demonstrated remind us to fix our eyes upon Jesus, and wait on Him to gently guide us each step of our journey.
- What do you find yourself worrying about today? Are you letting it rob you of your joy?
- In what ways can you relate to Ruth’s journey of “starting over”? Which truth that we considered do you especially need to remember this week?
- Read Luke 16:10. Do you think God cares about faithfulness in little things? What “next step” has He entrusted to you today, and how will you respond?
Yes, life is full of plot twists. Instead of fretting over them, let’s dare to live with the assurance that God knows the end from the beginning and everything in between.