Day 16: What if we could {read} the script in advance?

She replied, “Wait, my daughter until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”  Ruth 3:18

As I am spending these 31 days of October reading through the book of Ruth, I am using the word prompts for each day supplied by Kate Motaung (through her Five Minute Friday community of faith writers) to give me a focus for writing each day.  Today the word I’m pondering is {read}.

I’ve {read}.  And prayed.  Asked Holy Spirit to highlight Scripture from the harvest storehouse of Ruth 3 in which to glean truth and wisdom for my own life.  31 days gleaning with Ruth – it’s not just a catchy title of a series.  I am ‘real life’ questioning my way through a famine season grateful for those who have gone before. 31 days gleaning into the night

I can just imagine you – Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz – in that great throng of witnesses on the sideline cheering me on as I participate in the role God wrote just for me in His grand narrative.

And that is exactly what I am pondering today through this one verse Ruth 3:18.  What if we were able to read the script – the grand narrative of God – in advance?  What if read for a particular role?  Would we audition for the part we have?  Would we seek the starring roles?  Or would we rather have a role in the ensemble?

I wonder these things.  (My husband is nodding along right now.)  If Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz could have read the script in advance, would they be delighted with their role?  Would it make a difference in the way they lived out their story knowing the role they would play in history?

Or is it true that the unknown plot twists and unexpected changes in the setting are what character development is really all about?

In this one short verse so much truth is gleaned today.  It’s so easy to read a history and have a false impression of the intensity, the struggle or the dramatic tension of the real-life circumstances.  We read a story from the past with full knowledge of how it all turned out.  However, for those living it day by day, having not {read} the end of the story, the full range of human emotion and struggle to persevere is real.

Naomi and Ruth did not know for sure how their redeemer story was going to turn out.  Though Naomi was raised in the culture and understood the provision of a near kinsman, the exact details were not to be controlled by her.  As Naomi instructed Ruth, Naomi too would have to wait for the outcome and trust Almighty God who had not forgotten them after all.

Ruth trusted Naomi completely and followed Naomi’s instructions to the detail.  Ruth made herself vulnerable and allowed herself to be placed in a seemingly compromising position out of her love for her mother in law and her desire to have her husband’s name prosper into the future through a near kinsman.

Boaz, it seems would be flattered by the role he received, but who could know for sure.  He seemed a gentle, kind man who had protected Ruth in the fields.  Boaz himself was not sure how the whole transaction would be completed.  Even as Boaz declared his desire to buy the land of Elimelech from Naomi and take Ruth to be his wife, there was no guarantee.  Another man, in fair dealing, would be given the first option. ( 5 minutes)Bible {read}

What about me and the part of God’s grand narrative in which I have the privilege to participate?  I’m grateful I didn’t get to {read} the script of my role in advance.  Through this famine season, I am learning to give thanks for God’s sovereignty, for His goodness and steadfast love.  Truly it is a privilege to have been created with a particular role in mind, which could only be fulfilled by my one life played out in the company of all the others with whom I share this place in history.

Grateful too, as I once heard Beth Moore say, I have a place in God’s story just past Hebrews 11:40, as one of the faithful belonging to God’s family.  You too?

Those pages are surely kept in heaven and will be read for ages to come into eternity.  For now, we are able to read the narrative of God’s first faithfulness and love for us in the past, and His good plan for the future when we will live with Him forever without death or pain or anger or hate or defiance or loss.

And in the middle, we watch and listen for His direction.  We choose to participate, persevere in each change of setting, plot twist and allow the narrative to create in us the character and resemblance of our Lord, Jesus Christ… our nearest Redeemer.

Ponders:

Reading through Ruth 3 are you willing to place yourself in a role?  How might you feel, react and what might you hope for, pray and seek if you were Naomi?  Ruth?  Boaz?

  • Would you ask Holy Spirit to teach you what Father wants you to know about your role in His narrative?
  • Will you journal what He is teaching you?  Are there specific Scriptures highlighted for you as you pray and seek wisdom and understanding for your own life?
  • Do you know that you are written in God’s narrative of the faithful (Hebrews 11)?
  • For what in your role in God’s narrative are you thankful?  Who are the people who assist you in your role?  Who is God pointing to whom you might be able to assist in their role?

What if you could read the script of the rest of your life?  Would you want to or is it better to trust the narrative to an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present and unconditionally loving God and Father.

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining.

~Lisa

Day 8: {truth} or dare? A dangerous game of name calling

She (Naomi) said to them (the people of Bethlehem), “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”  Ruth 1:20-21 esv

Naomi entered into a dangerous game of name calling as she encountered family members and friends in Bethlehem.  She rejected her true name of Naomi, which means pleasantness or agreeable and took on the name of bitterness or Mara.

I refuse to be judgmental of Naomi.  I’ve participated in this dangerous game of name calling more times than I care to admit.  My name Lisa holds beautiful meaning:  Oath of God, God is satisfaction and in an English translation – My God is bountiful.  When I choose the truth of my name – I love my name.  Who wouldn’t want to be called ‘My God is bountiful’?

However, a number of years ago as I experienced my own journey through the famine land, I felt anything but bountiful or satisfaction and certainly saw no evidence of God’s oath stamped on my existence.  It seemed I was in great danger of losing my husband and both of my sons – not by death as Naomi had, but loss loomed large none the less.

girl in wheat 31 days

I was tempted… and I often fell – made an agreement with the lies of the enemy about my true identity.  I dared to call myself names I felt were more suited to my empty life.  I was bitter, angry, hurt, and I most often called myself failure.

That is until beautiful, loving women of my faith community gathered around me to speak the {truth}.  They would not allow me to choose these lies and speak the ugly name of failure over myself.  I began to receive deep inner healing as they prayed with me and looked into God’s word with me.

We, together with Holy Spirit’s guidance, were pulling up the lies – the weeds – which had begun to take over my heart garden.  In the place of those weeds called lies, we began to sow seeds of truth.  With my friends help, the seeds were watered, life fertilized the ground of my heart and Jesus shed His Light in my heart until the beautiful garden of truth began to spring up and produce fruits of the Spirit.

In a truly transformational prayer time with friends and Holy Spirit, I was asked this question:  Who does God say that you are… By what name does your heavenly Father call you? (5 minutes)

In the quiet of my heart garden, the Lord met me there and the fresh breeze of His whisper washed over me with this name – Passionate Pioneer of Peace.  In my spirit, I heard my Lord assure me, “Daughter, this is the name I call you.”

Interestingly, as I researched Naomi’s true name and the bitter name she chose for herself, I found a beautiful {truth}.  God is famous for taking our bitter and making it sweet.

Brittains SGBAs the Israelites wandered through the desert wilderness – free from Egypt, but not quite home in the Promised Land – they came to a place called Marah, which means bitterness.  Do you remember this place from Exodus 15:23-25?

The people found water in this place, but the water was bitter.  Have you ever felt like they?  Dry, thirsty – water, please!  But the water was undrinkable.  Moses cried out to the Lord for help.  There at Marah, the place of bitter water, the Lord showed Moses a tree (perhaps a branch or a log) to place in the water.  Miraculously, the water was turned from bitter to sweet.

Ponders:

 

Oh, Naomi, you experienced this miraculous blessing of God in your life, and me too.  Gleaning here, I recognize the entrance of Christ’s tree into my bitter circumstances miraculously changes my testimony to sweetness.

  • Will I embrace {truth}?  Will you?
  • Who are the trusted friends in your life who love you enough to call you out when you dare to play the dangerous game of name calling?  Will you ask them to hold you accountable?  And will you do the same for those you love?
  • Will you ask the Lord in the witness of trustworthy brothers and sisters in Christ for the true name by which He calls you?  (Words of Jesus, His promise: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Matthew 18:19-20)
  • Will you (along with me) with accountability choose to call yourself by the truth of your identity in Christ – your true name – for His glory and the power of your sweet testimony?

Eyes on Jesus and Shine  ~Lisa