Last night I was up with my son. It was a miserable night with a sick kiddo who just wants his mommy, while I just want to sleep. Last night as I sat there in the dark, barely awake, barely able to keep my frustration in check, I thought about Ruth. I thought about her obedience, and her faithfulness and her bravery in ordinary things. I thought about how I don't usually think of these sleepless nights as requiring bravery or as being particularly spiritual. But down here in the mud of ordinary everyday obedience is actually where a ton of spiritual formation takes place. It's where the rubber meets the road, where you have to live out your intentions and practice what you preach. Whatever your "in the mud" place might be - school, office, kids, relationships - all of it can be used by God to refine us. He can meet us in these ordinary places, and work through ordinary actions to achieve an extraordinary story of His redemption.
If I'm honest - in these moments of ordinary suffering my attitude tends to be looking for a way out, or maybe a way through but I'm fervently praying "how long O, Lord?" all the way through. I think in these middle places, when life feels altogether too much to handle, what I really need is not for God to open a door out of this place, but for God to show up here with me. I need Him to be El Roy to me now, the God who sees me, I need Him to be Immanuel right here, God who is with us, I need Him to come and brush the gravel from off of my knees, and wipe the tears from my eyes and remind me that He'll never ever leave me, He will not fail me, not now. Not ever. I need to let this season change me, and refine me. I need to let go of the fear, I need to find my brave in the middle of this hard and scary yet ordinary season.
Read: Ruth 2
Reflect: I love all of the dialogue in the book of Ruth. It not only moves the story along, I think it shows a lot of the culture in which this story is taking place but it also shows the hearts of these people. What I see in this story is love. The love that takes up the basin & towel. (see John 13:1-5) Did you notice Jesus' motivation for washing his disciples feet? Look again at John 13:1 - it's love. And perfect love casts out fear. They are oil and vinegar. They do not mix. Love drives out fear (and fear will make love run and hide!) Ruth chose love when I think I would have chosen easy.
Respond: What character qualities have you noticed in Ruth so far? How does Ruth show bravery in her everyday, ordinary obedience? How is Ruth demonstrating love? How does Ruth show bravery in the middle places of her story? How is God calling you, specifically, to act out your brave?
Psalm 37:1-9, 23-26