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.

Ponders:

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!

~Lisa

 

 

Self, what does {try} look like through your filter of life experience? (continued)

Recently I posted a short Five Minute Friday free write using the word prompt {try}.  You can read it by clicking here.

I was writing about Peter and the disciples in a boat, and Jesus walking to them on the water (found in Matthew 14:22-33).  Let’s continue with my last thoughts from the previous post:

Suddenly, they see someone walking across the waves.  The disciples first thought ghost. He had to be shining, right?  It was dark.  Or maybe the moon was His spotlight.Matthew 14

Anyway, Jesus called out to them, “Take courage.  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  I imagine Peter boldly standing up on the edge of the boat and screaming out into the wind, “Lord, if it’s You call me to walk out to You on top of the water….just like You are doing!”  I wonder, when Jesus said, “Come”, did Peter hear, “Give it a try.  Jump on out here!”

Peter takes a whole lot of ribbing for being impulsive, and maybe un-redeemed it’s called impulsive.  Maybe in the process of his sanctification, Peter was quick to trust.  Honestly, I read about Peter’s life as a follower of Jesus and think he might possibly be the poster child for the word {try}.

Perhaps I run to Peter’s defense because of the soft spot in my heart for him.  Possibly it’s because at 54 (not at 4 or 14 or even 24, but 54 yes!) I see myself a bit resembling Peter in action.  Truly, I’m quick to run into the thick of things before asking many questions.

 

Lisa crossing the S of G
Boating across the Sea of Galilee

Continually looking around to see what God is doing around me, I catch a glimpse and suddenly, enthusiastically throw my hand in the air like a third grader.  “Ooohhhh, oooh, Teacher, Teacher….pick me!  PICK ME!!!”

 

Sometimes Jesus does pick me.  There’s no doubt in my mind; I simply know He’s called me into the deep.  Other times I have done like Peter in this section of Scripture, and I’ve volunteered myself for an adventure.  I think the unintentionally proud thought might be, “Jesus, if You’re doing it then I can do it too, right?”

Either way, I tend to be quick to jump out of the boat – just like Peter – right into the water two feet first.  My eyes are on Jesus, wanting to succeed in this new adventure, and make Him proud of me – a step and then another.  But the waves and the wind and the dark, scariness of the whole thing overwhelms my initial excitement and…

I look at the obstacles and take my eyes off Him, and I wonder out loud, “What was I thinking?  Jesus, are You there.  I didn’t know what I was asking for really.  I’m sinking… can I get back in the boat?”

But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him…  Matthew 14:30-31

sea of galilee shore (2)
On the shore of the Sea of Galilee

You know, Jesus is always right there for me…just like He was for Peter.  I imagine He gets a big kick out of watching me get excited and want to try something bigger than myself. (You too)  However, He does need to remind me that I can’t do it alone. (You too) Holy Spirit residing within me is constantly refining my impulsivity and is instead creating a heart of trust and a will to follow into the great unknown.  I need Him…for everything, every day, and all the time.

And yet I can’t stop myself.  I want to make every day count for as long as I have days to count.  I still want to {try}.  I don’t ever want to wonder why I just didn’t {try}!

Ponders:

  1. Do you relate to Peter?  Do you think of yourself as impulsive?  Eager for adventure?  A risk taker?
  2. If yes to any of those characteristics, in what areas of your character do you recognize Holy Spirit’s refinement?  Instead of impulsive Holy Spirit is creating _________________ in you.
  3. If no, you really don’t relate to Peter in his willingness to jump out of the boat to walk on the water, what do you think you would be doing and or saying to him at the moment?
  4. Will you ask Holy Spirit for wisdom to understand your personality?  Your desire for adventure?  Your level of risk taking?  Your willingness to try?  Truly you are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image and uniquely gifted for the edification of the saints.
  5. What one thing do you wish to {try}?  What’s stopping you?  What are you waiting for?  Will you talk to your Good Father about it?  I wonder if He might just call you to come on out and give it a try!

 

FMF: Self, what does {try} look like through your filter of life experience?

Wait, wait… here I am!!! I know I am late with my Five Minute Friday post.  I know, it’s Saturday, not Friday.  Grace, please!!

I work in a school and this past week was our pre-planning week.  For all of you school warriors out there…(public, private or home-school warriors), I don’t even need to explain what Thursday and Friday of pre-planning week feels and looks like to your body – mind, soul, and spirit.  A round of applause for all of you!  May God bless you with all you need in the place He’s called you to serve this year for His glory and the nurturing of His children.fmf logo

Suffice it to say, I vaguely recall somewhere around 10 PM Thursday night, as my eyes were closing, a post from Kate Motaung indicating the Five Minute Friday word prompt for this week is {try}.  I think I chuckled out loud.  I thought about it early Friday morning…jotted some notes thinking I could type out a post when I got home.  Ha!

So, here I sit on Saturday fighting the temptation to let this one go and {try} again next week.  No!  I’m setting the 5-minute timer now, and GO!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More-FMF-Square-Images-4 I think of Peter and the disciples in a boat on the stormy, wave-rocked sea of Galilee sent out by Jesus while He stayed alone to send the 5,000+ home after dinner.  Before joining His team, Jesus then found a remote place to talk to His Father.  Talk about {TRY} – feeding 5,000+ people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread!

The disciples were obediently {try-ing} to get across to the other side as Jesus directed them to do, but the wind and the waves wouldn’t release their boat.  They were stuck and afraid.

I’ve been there.  Have you?  Maybe a physical boat or maybe more of a spiritual boat in a wave-tossed sea? Scary, isn’t it?

Suddenly, they see someone walking across the waves.  The disciples first thought ghost. He had to be shining, right?  It was dark.  Or maybe the moon was His spotlight.

Stop!

To be continued…100_5330