Hi, everyone, it’s Patrice. Since this is my first blog, I want to start at the beginning; looking back twenty years, to a day when my life changed dramatically. This significant moment began a journey, which ultimately led to my writing about women of the Bible (more on that later) and this blog.
After reading my story, I’d love to hear from you; perhaps share a moment of truth from your life.
As I drive to work, I touch the chain around my neck. Hanging from the chain is a diamond heart; a present from my husband and the best piece of jewelry I own. He was excited to give me this gift; thus it was special, and I wore it often. Reconciling the man who chose this thoughtful gift to the person moving out of our home is impossible. I touch the necklace again; somehow it makes me feel closer to him.
The seat belt is annoying, and when I pull on the strap, the chain breaks, and my heart falls to the floor. Frantically searching the car, I can’t find it anywhere; just like the jewelry, my heart is broken and my marriage lost. I lean over the steering wheel sobbing. Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble (Ps.10:1 NIV)? My husband is leaving; are you deserting me too?
Despite the chaos, a Bible verse comes to mind. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on (Exod. 14:15).” Really, God, this is the message after months of not hearing from you? It’s time to move on!
My husband is a deacon and lay pastor. I am the Sunday school superintendent and a Sunday school teacher. God, you don’t understand! I can’t be a divorced woman.
During the next few weeks, I spent time in prayer and Bible study and stumbled across the book of Ruth. Certainly, a story I’ve read before, but this day the book takes on a special significance. Reading about this brave woman, I am aware of how my reaction differs from Ruth’s response to a similar situation.
Ruth met her future husband when Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons moved from Bethlehem to Moab to escape a severe famine. Both sons married Moabite women: Orpah and Ruth. Elimelech and the two sons died, leaving all three women widows.
Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem, but she encouraged her daughters-in-law to stay in Moab. But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God (Ruth 1:16 NLT). ” She discovered Naomi’s God, the Holy One, and Creator of all; and she wasn’t’ turning back now.
So both women traveled to Naomi’s homeland. Ruth’s life was changing; she must have been a little scared and nervous, but unlike me, Ruth didn’t lecture God on why she deserved better.
Arriving in Bethlehem at the beginning of the harvest, Ruth didn’t focus on her foreigner status or poverty; instead, she made plans to feed herself and Naomi. One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields and pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it (Ruth 2:2).”
So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech (Ruth 2:3). Notice the verse says “And as it happened.” Was she gleaning in Boaz’s field by accident? Not likely. This was one of those God directed coincidences.
When Boaz returned from Bethlehem, he checked on the progress of the harvest. As he surveyed his property, a woman gleaning in the field caught his eye. Intrigued, Boaz casually asked the foreman about the newcomer. Armed with information, he approached Ruth hoping to give her an incentive to return to his fields tomorrow.
I wonder what she thought as Boaz approached. Was she afraid she did something wrong? Was he going to ask her to leave? Instead, he tells her to glean only in his fields and offers this young vulnerable woman protection from predators and harm. Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” she asked. “I am only a foreigner (Ruth 2:10).” Despite a rough life she didn’t wallow in self-pity but maintained a thankful heart.
The story takes other twists and turns, but eventually, she married Boaz and became a mother; and not just any mother, but an ancestor of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
OK, God, I hear you. Ruth’s situation was dire, yet she remained positive and confident about her future. She was also obedient, resourceful, and thankful because she trusted you. Me, not so much!
God continued to open my eyes to other Biblical men and women who faced life-altering changes due to man’s sinful nature. There was Noah’s mission to build an ark and Joseph’s terrifying trip with the caravan; furthermore, Jochebed experienced the heartache of giving up a child, and Esther was called to save the Jewish people. Stoning was Stephen’s fate, and Paul knew loneliness in a prison cell. If a fallen world affected these great lives, why not mine?
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on (Exod. 14:15).” A few days ago, I rejected God’s message. Not knowing what is on the other side was still frightening: but like Ruth and other Biblical people who rose to their challenges, I had to put my trust in God, knowing he was completely aware of the journey ahead.
Just as God guided Ruth to Boaz’s field, God walks with me, and his call is still on my life. So like the Israelites at the Red Sea, I must stop crying, leave my former life behind, and move forward to the adventure ahead. Gingerly, I take the first step; knowing God will not let me drown, but there is no guarantee my feet won’t get wet.
Have you ever been afraid to take that first step across the Red Sea? Tell us about it. Give your insights on my story, or share your struggles, ideas, and victories. We want to hear from you.
My next blog is about sharing my faith. Let me rephrase that, it’s about how awful I am at sharing my faith. If this is your nemesis too, be sure and read next week’s blog. I’m sure readers will have ideas to help us all tell the world about Jesus.
Oh, and before leaving the site, check out my Word of the Week meditation for women and AWalk Through the Bible for children. Print the PDF for fun and colorful devotions.
Thanks for stopping by. See you later!