Read Ruth 3:1-18
Working our way through the book of Ruth, we experience a story of romance, grief and redemption. But the most unique piece that holds it all together is the role of the mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth, upon the death of her husband, embraces a role of living with his mother and embracing the identity of belonging to his family. The temptation to let grief dwell in bitterness had to be real for Ruth. Ruth could not control the things that were happening in her life to her; when things like this occur on an extended basis, the tendency to become bitter festers. The thing about bitterness is that many people (Ruth being no exception) could choose to live in it because it is a feeling that makes us feel in control of our circumstances.
It becomes all to easy to take matters into our own hands, when we are bitter, and not fully trust in God’s plan and provision for us. How we respond to trials in our life says a lot about our faith. Consider this formula:
In the last decade, there has been an equation that has emerged in sports leadership culture at THE Ohio State University.
E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome)
Events happen in our lives, whether brought on by an external or internal event. How we respond will dictate the outcome every time. In this case, Ruth’s event (the command to sleep her way into a secure marriage in light of her mourning) demanded a response. It could’ve been “no”, “you’re crazy”, or lashing out in anger. Instead, the response was obedience born from vulnerability in risk of reputation because her trust in God outweighed her desire to control her own life. Naomi had not counted on this. Naomi’s description that Boaz will “tell you what to do” once Ruth got under the covers was instead unpredictably met with him responding to Ruth by asking who she was. The subsequent events and conversation led to an example of godliness and a beautiful union that would one day pass down a lineage of Christ the King.
Every day, we are faced with circumstances and events that are unfolding around us in which we have two ways to respond. For many people, there are hurts that are more personal happening in their families daily which compound the issues of surviving in this outside world. The impact of family stress compounded with ailing finances, broken relationships, misbehaving children, unfulfillment at work, struggling marriages and loss of loved ones demands a response.
What is your R to these events and the events happening in your life currently?
Ruth’s story shows us that when we take risks by faith and respond in servitude, the unexpected can happen. The long-term blessing provides an outcome that we could have never seen coming – one that reminds us every day of the beauty, grace and mercy of God being in control of our lives, saving us from bitterness and growing us in faith.