Day 14: If at first I don’t succeed, will I {try, try} again?

One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for.  Ruth 3:1 niv

{try} to make an attempt at, to put to test or trial, to subject to something (such as undue strain or excessive hardship or provocation) that tests the powers of endurance – courtesy of Webster’s online dictionary.pablo (70)

Reading again through the book of Ruth, asking Holy Spirit to highlight for me what He wants me to know about this word {try}, I see it from a perspective I’ve not recognized before now.

Naomi’s family tried to remove themselves from hardship during a time of famine.

Naomi tried to convince her daughters-in-law to return to their families and culture – their gods.

Once Ruth refused to leave Naomi, they returned together to Bethlehem in Judah to try to find a new life for themselves.

Ruth took over and asked to try to glean in the fields during the harvest season.

Ruth tried to fit in with her new home, new people, new culture.  She tried to follow the ways of God’s people.  She tried to honor her dead husband’s mother.

Ruth tried her best to provide for her mother-in-law, Naomi.

And then, suddenly it’s Naomi’s turn to try again.  In my old NIV Study Bible (1985), Ruth 3:1 reads this way:

One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for?

It’s hard to try again sometimes.  You know… when you tried already and you thought you were doing the best thing you could do for yourself and for those you love.  When you tried and nothing worked out like it was supposed to… when you look around and seems lost.  Failure in the trying looms large over us when we tried…really tried, and gave our best.

It’s hard to keep trying after failure because… well, my next trying might also end in failure.  And, who wants to feel like a failure?  Who wants to fail?  I know you can’t see me, but I am raising both hands and jumping up and down – me, me, ME!  I don’t want to be a failure!

However, what I am gleaning this morning from Ruth and Naomi, is a transformational truth for this place in my own life.  When Naomi felt like a failure, and probably – maybe – didn’t have the energy to {try} anymore, Ruth stepped in with a fresh willingness to {try}.  (5 minutes)pablo (81).png

And after the harvest season was over, when Ruth had worked hard and provided for Naomi, we see a beautiful renewal of energy from Naomi.  It’s as if Ruth’s perseverance through the trial, emboldened by God’s overshadowing favor on Ruth, breathed new life into Naomi.  For the first time in a long time, it appears Naomi found HOPE.

I need this life-giving lesson for my own famine season as I {try} my best to do what I can do day in and day out.  I need to recognize that my {trying}, my persevering under trying circumstances, might just be breathing life into the one beside me who is having difficulty finding hope for our future.

O Lord, may it be so… cover us Father with Your wing, embolden me to {try} again each day, and breathe life into the man I love and bring to life HOPE for our future.  In Your holy and mighty name, Jesus.  For Your glory, Lord, I submit myself to these trying times.


You might be familiar with this old proverb attributed to William Edward Hickson (1803-1870).

’Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.

  • It seems this proverb has been deeply ingrained in our American culture of just working harder, smarter.  However, as we ponder the word of God, is this a proverb Scripture supports?
  • As you pray and ask Holy Spirit for revelation of truth, what Scriptures come to mind?  Will you write them in your journal?  Will you choose one in particular to pray through in a famine season when it seems to hard to keep trying?

The few Scriptures Holy Spirit brought to my mind (I hope you’ll add others) are these:

James 1:2-3   Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Peter 1:6-7  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

John 17:15-19  (Jesus’ prayer for us)  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

I pray you are encouraged to try, try again – under the protective wing of Father God, with His Spirit living in you, and the word of God, Jesus Himself, firmly grasping your will day by day.

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining!