Read: Ruth 4
Today was a hard day. It was a day full of emotions: grief mixed with joy, anxiety mixed with anticipation, and others I don’t even know how to label. Yet, in the face of everything, all I can do is try my best to trust and obey my Heavenly Father. I can obey what the Lord has called me to and trust that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will deliver me through. As I sit here writing this, I am reminded how obedience and trust aren’t achieved or obtained quickly. It is a slow process. It is the evidence of a life that lives out the small and big moments before the Lord. It is the strength of trust in God that grows when our obedience costs us something.
When I think about the story of the people we meet in Ruth, I see how their life of obedience is on display. They are people known for their character. Ruth was worthy and Boaz was honorable. Naomi had lost sight of God’s goodness and was resigned to being labeled “Bitter” because she felt that God had stripped her of all goodness, yet she kept trusting in the Lord. She followed the law God had laid out, trusting that He would be faithful.
We get a glimpse into short moments of their lives. In the moment, maybe Ruth didn’t understand why she was to lie at a man’s feet. Or maybe Ruth, being a Moabite, had no idea what a “kinsman redeemer” was, but she trusted her mother-in-law who knew God’s Word, and she obeyed. There are moments when Boaz didn’t have to show kindness, but he did. We also see a time when Naomi, who felt empty, could have turned her back on God, but instead she pursued the upholding of God’s law.
They didn’t know that their story would be recorded for us to read and be encouraged. They certainly didn’t know that their lineage would be part of the Messiah’s family tree. No, they were just doing what they knew to do: trust and honor God with a life of obedience. So that is what they did.
One reason I love the Old Testament is that you get a glimpse of normal people living normal lives, and yet their lives speak volumes to who God is, how He can be trusted, and why we should seek to bring Him glory with our lives. These women were heartbroken, hungry, and afflicted, yet they still walked out obedience in small ways.
How are we obeying? Who are we trusting? When life is hard and confusing, where do we turn? What habits from our heart emerge when days and moments are tough?
Much like we can’t just wake up one day and swim the English Channel with no training because we think it looks awesome, we also can’t wake up one day and think, “Yes, today I will easily obey God in this absolutely huge way even though I have never trusted Him with anything before.” Everyday we make a thousand decisions about whether we are going to trust God. If we don’t train our hearts and lives to trust and obey God in the small things, then it will be so much harder when the big things hit us.
When Boaz goes to the elders at the city gate to take on Ruth and Naomi and their land, he didn’t wake up that day and think, “Today I will be an honorable man.” No, he had already been living his life as an honorable man. (Ruth 2:1) I love this glimpse into their lives. These are normal people, two widows and a wealthy landowner, doing what they had already trained their hearts to do: follow the Lord and trust in His ways. They were living their lives like they did every day, and though it might have seemed ordinary to them, it is extraordinary to us. Through their lives, we are given an example of faith that leads to trust and obedience.
So today, while I sit here and write this with many emotions swirling around in my head, I remember that I don’t have to be extraordinary. Instead I must recall how I have been training for these days. I have been training my heart and mind to trust that God is ever compassionate, kind, and faithful and training my soul and strength to continue to obey even when it doesn’t make sense. We see the end story of Ruth and Boaz, but they didn’t know what God had in store for the future. They only could do what they knew they were being called to do right then and there, and that is what they did. Let us take their example to heart and walk a life that is training in trust and obedience.