Waiting, I know, just thinking the word evokes emotions of anxiety.
I will shop a certain place, consciously paying more for items, simply to avoid the inevitable wait of a cheaper store. I will excitedly make my way towards the local coffee house, practically smelling the fresh ground heaven, only to find I don’t have time to wait in the interminable drive thru line.
My husband taught a message recently about our fast-food society, describing how our culture demands everything yesterday, and responds with anger and frustration when situations move too slowly. We stress fast food, fast cars, fast service, fast internet, and fast phone lines, among a plethora of other unable to live without necessities.
In a fast paced world we want relationship, knowledge, and stability to occur at an equally fast rate and end up sacrificing these things on the altar of convenience. A true relationship takes time to build, true knowledge takes time to experience and understand, and stability takes time needed to measure our decisions on the balance of life’s choices. Time means we have to wait.
We settle for less merely to avoid the pain of waiting.
As we take a closer look at Ruth chapter three, waiting plays a significant role in shaping both Ruth and Naomi’s lives. Chapter three begins with another healing step for Naomi as her focus switches from self-pity to Ruth’s needs. Naomi instructs Ruth on the tradition of kinsmen redeemer, the Levirate marriage in which the nearest family relative marries the widow of the deceased to ensure the continuation of a family name. Naomi’s instructions included specific details regarding the manner Ruth should present herself to Boaz.
Instructed to anoint herself, a physical action signifying an end of her mourning, Ruth also needed to emotionally prepare to take a step into her future. Our minds and our actions should constantly reflect our preparation and obedience to perform God’s will. 1 Corinthians 15:31 teaches we should die daily, putting ourselves under the subjection of God, anointing our minds with prayer, study, and fasting the tools provided to help endure the arduous task of waiting.
Ruth presents herself to Boaz, and finds his heart open to her request, but he insists on waiting until morning. He wanted to ensure no misconceptions occurred regarding his intentions and respected the importance of following the protocol established for him to claim her as his bride. Similarly if we are always completely honest with our actions, then no questions arise concerning our intentions. Romans 13:12-13 declares we should put aside darkness and walk in honesty and light.
Even when we make mistakes, honesty will keep the consequences from growing.
Ruth heads home, excitement mingled with fear, beginning the task of waiting if the elders will permit her marriage to Boaz. Ruth’s stress almost palpable in the scripture is met with the wisdom and patience only a mother bears, as Naomi instructs her, “Sit still.”
Ever experienced that whole excitement mixed with fear thing? Blah, it’s not always the most pleasant experience, and I would much rather dwell in the comfort of certainty than the gut wrenching dread the unknowing creates. Sitting still, as Naomi advised, seems nearly impossible with such emotions captivating the body and mind.
Sitting still, remains the best, and sometimes only, action capable of managing the uncertainty of waiting.
We experienced waiting, now referred to as the dark period, when a proposed two years stretched into four to bring our daughter home from Thailand. It shaped me in such a way, teaching me lessons I now know God intended. Lessons I desperately needed to learn regarding patience, hope, and generosity, of what it actually means to truly trust in God. An easier road, a quicker path, a faster solution could not be found and I can now say how truly thankful I am for the waiting.
Isaiah 40:31 records all we need to remember, They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
If you find yourself in the trenches of waiting, I urge you, don’t give up hope.
Waiting brings our pride under subjection, strengthens our weaknesses, and teaches us wisdom beyond our years.
Naomi sat warmed by the fire, watching Ruth’s hands knead flour into their bread.
Her heart ached, remembering the pride Elimilech felt when Ruth’s father agreed to the bride price for their son. Ruth came into their lives with a quiet passion and loyalty. Naomi rejoiced at her eagerness to know about Bethlehem and the God the Israelites served.
Naomi continued to watch, as Ruth, unaware, pushed thick curls back from her face, leaving a faint trail of white across her forehead. Evidence of the grief and harsh reality of life were not yet apparent on Ruth’s youthful features. Naomi’s heart swelled with love, and she knew it was time to unfold the plan which would bring life back to them both.
“Ruth, it is time you finished,” said Naomi, leading her away from the chore, “and time to put away your mourning. Come we shall bathe and anoint you, I have a gown saved for you to wear,” declared Naomi, pulling out a soft pale blue gown embroidered with silver thread. Hearing Ruth gasp, Naomi explained,” I brought it with us from Moab, it was my wedding dress, the only thing I have preserved. I could not bear to part from the memories it brought of a happier time.”
“Why would you dress me as a bride, Naomi? There is no one here who would consider a Moabite widow for a bride, even if they now claim me as friend.” Ruth spoke gently, her fingers brushing the soft folds of the gown.
“Ruth, let me help you, as you have helped me. Boaz is kindred to the house of Elimilech, he is unmarried, prosperous, and a man of peace. This relationship makes him responsible to carry on the house of Elimilech, for the firstborn of he and a widow of Elimilech’s family would be a son to me. I know he is a good deal older than you, but I also know he will treat you justly. Go now, while he is on the threshing floor, wait until all becomes still and uncover his feet and lie down next to them. He will know what it means and what to do next, if he fulfills this duty hope is restored to our future.” Naomi finished with a sigh, realizing the plan came not only from her mind. “Thank you, Lord God of my fathers,” she whispered.
Ruth’s mind raced at all Naomi presented. How could Naomi have known the secrets of her heart? How many times had she forced Boaz from her mind, believing thinking of him betrayed the memory of her husband and Naomi. Not allowing herself to the think of the possibility of rejection, she declared, “I will do all that you ask.”
Ruth walked into the night, finding the field, she waited, each second increasing the rushing of her heart. Finally silence overtook the night and she made her way to the sleeping Boaz, and gazed upon the face so often in her dreams. His temples, gray at the sides, gave way to dark wavy hair still full and even now refusing to stay out of his eyes. Summoning her courage, she knelt and uncovered his feet, lying down beside them.
Only a few moments went by and Ruth felt Boaz sit up, “Who is there?” he whispered.
“It is I, Ruth, your handmaiden. Spread your protection over me for thou art my kinsman.” Ruth could not keep the tremor from her voice as she spoke, head down, too afraid to meet his eyes.
“Ruth, look at me,” Boaz gently instructed, lifting her chin.
Meeting his eyes, surprised to find tears in them, Ruth felt her own eyes overwhelmed with emotion. “Ruth, blessed are you of the Lord, I would have thought you would seek someone more youthful, or more wealth, but I should have remembered you for the virtues you displayed. I will do all you need of me, but you need to know there is a nearer kinsman than I. Stay here for the night, it is too dangerous for you to walk back and I don’t want anyone to think you came to see me in secret. I will go in the morning and see if he will accept or decline and allow me to fulfill the role of kinsman redeemer.”
Night stretched before them, sitting side by side they waited for the long minutes to pass by until the sun started to edge over the horizon. Yet, she would have spent a million more minutes, sharing thoughts and dreams waiting with the man she realized she loved.
Leading her to the road, before others were aware of her presence, he poured a measure of barley into her hands. “I would not let you return to Naomi empty handed.”
Standing still, Ruth watched until Boaz could no longer be seen. Her feet could not race fast enough to Naomi’s side. Bursting into the house, Naomi got up and reached out for her, as Ruth hurriedly replayed all that had taken place. Story finished Naomi, began to pace the floor.
“Will he ever come?” she questioned, pacing the floor.
“Sit now daughter and rest yourself. We must wait, and in waiting find the strength for whatever lies ahead.” Naomi spoke, a smile in her voice, for it had scarcely been a half hour since Ruth returned home.
Read Ruth chapter three.
Laura S.© Copyright 2017 | A Closer Look