why I like Ruth

Ruth 1 | Their better halves ripped right from them, Naomi, Ruth and Orpah pick up and pack up what’s left. Bitter and brokenhearted, Naomi heads homeward—back to the Bethlehem she left for this supposed happily ever after. Her heart’s hard toward the God who used to give, but won’t stop taking away. She tells her daughters-in-law to break free, to run fast towards new adventures and greener pastures! While they’re young and able, alive and beautiful—bolt for faraway glitter, for a take two, for a new last name! Lonely and longing, with mustered-up courage, Orpah says her goodbyes. She’s like anyone–thirsty for affection and a hand to hold, thirsty for what’s new and what’s next. But I like Ruth.  What she chooses fires me up.

IMG_4517 - Version 2Don’t urge me to leave you
or turn my back from you.
For where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people &
your God will be my God
Ruth 1:16 /

For what I’m convinced is her first time, Ruth hears the Lord. She hears Him. Loud and clear, He tells her to stay. She doesn’t wrestle or question, doesn’t pace back and forth or drag her heels. She says yes. To someday eternal Life, to salvation. And from the minute she calls Him hers, she starts to do Life with Him and for Him. Her love story actually begins here. She’s all His now—and she instantly does whatHe asks. He stirs her heart to obey, to stay where He put her, to link arms with her Naomi and trust what’s up His sleeve.

Ruth pledges her allegiance to her God and her Naomi. Her loyalty and all her love’s linked up with Naomi and they move onward together. This is her moment, her kingdom, her crown, the thing God set before her for this season exactly. This is her story.

Ruth just started following her God—and now she’s all in. I think that’s why I like her—she’s always all-in. Ruth’s steadfast. She’s about sacrifice and big Love, the kind that treks far and holds tight and roots itself down deep. Ruth makes promises and keeps them. She’s hopeful, like she sees His big picture. Ruth’s independent, she doesn’t go by the world’s ways but dares to do her own thing. She’s patient. She’s different, she’s a rarity. She doesn’t chase after winds of attention and affection or feel obliged to move at everyone else’s pace. Ruth stick to and stands by Naomi. Ruth said yes and stepped forward, into the promises of the God that got her there. She did so—because she heard Him say so: This is your story, My girl. I think You’ll like it.

This is my story, too. I heard Him say so. I’ve got my own Naomi. She’s a bunch of high school kids, or middle school kids, or mamas or college disciple-friends. I’ve got three years with her, or maybe five or ten or forever! She’s this red and blue new world Young Life set me in—I’ve got some time to hold tight to her and root myself down deep. To gather her grains and supply what’s lacking and offer the thirsty the Water that does the trick. To choose her, to keep her company. To give of my heart and soul and resources and efforts and late nights and weekends, to kinda give my life away for the sake of her. To pray someday prayers for revival and whole restoration, for her to get to the Promised Land—and to watch front-row all the while. To call her mine. To call this my story, my home.

Today, I choose my Naomi. The weary one, defeated and run ragged and hungry for whole restoration. Though what’s faraway glitters, I have no need to hurry up time, no need for greener pastures or a take two. A far greater glory is waiting if I simply walk in His ways. At my very feet, there are seeds to sow and water and watch grow. There is grain to gather and a rising harvest that demands my time, labor and attention. There’s a Naomi expecting my always return. There is a place for me at dining room tables and in black box theaters and front-row at rowdy football games. There are high school and middle school girls to chase after–desperate for redemption, desperate to feel noticed and chosen and heard and loved, desperate for a friend who sticks to and stands by. There is a tiny world that’s tired of being taken from. There are hundreds of hearts craving a happy new beat. So this is my story—the part where I link arms with Naomi and her people and our God. I heard Him say so.

Today, I release. I release a shaky heart to You, whose Love does the trick. I release the needs of my Naomi and these tired hands. I release the world’s expectation that a Boaz will take notice, take care and waltz in wanting to love my Naomi too. I release the little somedays, that aren’t the real Someday I’m after. And in the release, I’ll hold tight to You and what You’ve written just for me. My Abba, you write the very best stories–I won’t look down.

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