The Best Place to Be
Do you ever find yourself in a place where you just don’t know what to do? You can see no clear way out. You don’t have the resources, time or energy to recreate your world. You have no idea how it’s all going to end up. You might be fearful or you might be too tired to care.
Naomi might have felt something like that when they arrived back in Bethlehem. Her old life had fallen apart, and she had to do something, so she moved home. Once there, she is still unsure about what to do next. Ruth kindly suggests they find some food. Naomi’s response was simply, “Go.” There was no strategy or master plan in play. No maneuvering for the perfect end game. Only, the next step, “Let’s find some food.” You know the rest. God shows up big time. He orchestrates Ruth’s gleaning to be at the home of a wealthy relative who in turn favors Ruth, and by extension Naomi, and the tide begins to turn. Yay God.
It seems like the future is a bit brighter for these ladies, but I suggest their future will be better because of their current hardship. You see, hardships do for us what nothing else can do. They reveal our inabilities. In turn, we seek out God and depend on Him and not ourselves. We become humbler, and God becomes greater – 100% trustworthy and faithful. So, while being in a hard spot is not the easiest place to be, it might well be the best place to be. Like it says in James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Lacking in nothing.
But there’s another beautiful illustration in this narrative. Notice what Boaz does for Ruth: he provides for her (vs. 8-10), he protects her (vs. 15), and he blesses her (v.16). Ruth responds with, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Doesn’t that sound like the gospel? We were enemies of God, foreigners to His household (Eph. 2:19). Yet, He chooses to be Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides), Yahweh Nissi (the God who protects) and El Shaddai (the Almighty God who abundantly blesses). You see, the Word of God, in every detail, describes and reflects the character of God. It is consistent throughout because He is consistent – without variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17). This is the One we can trust in our transitions – He is our Boaz. In your current situation, believe God will show up big time to provide, protect and bless, and believe you are in the best place to be.
Additional verses to consider: Psalm 73:28; Romans 5:3-6; Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 4:10-13, 19; Hebrews 4:14-16
- In the context of fight or flight, how do you deal with personal hardship? How is that tendency exhibited – what behaviors does it create?
- Given this passage of scripture and the verses above, how do you critique the adage, “God helps those who help themselves”? How about, “Let go and let God?”
- What is a personal example of a hardship that developed good things in your character and life? Note the circumstances and the results.
- If you were trying to encourage someone in a hard place, what would you say to them? What practical steps would you suggest?
- Consider Boaz ‘s relationship with Ruth and Naomi and explain in what ways Boaz is a prefiguration of Christ.