Out of the Waiting Room
The Christian life is not lived in a comfort zone.
In Ruth 3 we find Ruth taking a great risk as she approached Boaz to request that he care for her as his wife. She, a single woman, went in the middle of the night to a barn filled with men after they had finished celebrating the completed harvest. Once Boaz fell asleep, she went to him under the cover of darkness and uncovered his feet. If she had made a mistake or had been discovered, there is no telling what these men would have done to her or what people might have said regarding her motives.
These events look strange to our 21st-century eyes, but Ruth’s unusual actions demonstrate a sincere trust in God’s care and protection. God had laid down in His law that Boaz could act as a kinsman-redeemer—a protector and provider—for Ruth. God had providentially led Ruth to Boaz’s field, where he had extended favor to her. Her story shows us again and again how God providentially rules over all unforseeable circumstances for His glory and the well-being of His people.
Like Ruth, we will sometimes face occasions in life when we cannot see much beyond our next step. Many of us are tempted to remain in the waiting room until all of the details are seemingly clear and known. We want to feel safe and in control. Yet if we insist on never moving until we do feel like that, our lives will speak little of spiritual progress and witness little of God’s miraculous work. The fear of going in the wrong direction leaves us going nowhere at all.
When we cannot see beyond our next step or when times of uncertainty come in life—and they will come!—we have to trust God and act on the basis of the truth of His word and trust in His Spirit’s guidance. Ruth’s plan was not fail-safe and certain, but she proceeded because she trusted God, who had proven His faithfulness to her time and time again.
Do you need to start thinking this way? Do you need to look above and beyond the borders of your comfort zone to that to which God may be calling you? If Ruth was motivated by trust and obedience, what are you motivated by? What is there about your life right at this moment that speaks of faith? There may be a decision to make, a place to go, a venture to undertake, or a conversation to have about which you don’t know all the implications, and all you can say is “I don’t have a clue how this is going to go, but it’s what God is calling me to do.” In these situations, God’s word calls you to use wisdom and then proceed in faith, step by step, trusting in the one who died for you and who promises to be “with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Entrust your life not to the safety of your comfort zone but to the guidance of His providential hand.
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
1Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? 2Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” 5And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
6So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. 7And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! 9He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings1 over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
14So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15And he said, “Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. 16And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” 18She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”
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