Ruth made an incredibly powerful dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi after her husband died.
She pledged to leave her home and religion and people behind and committed to following Naomi and devoting herself to Naomi’s people and her God. And she did all this without any promise of what the future would hold.
If her previous ten years (infertility and the death of her husband) were any indication of what Ruth’s future might look like, she probably didn’t hope for much prosperity in following Naomi either.
Yet, Ruth made this bold proclamation; she turned her faith to Naomi and Naomi’s God, and God blessed her richly for it.
Ruth has often been an example to me of the type of dedication I want to have in following God. I have prayed, “God I will go where you go. And stay where you stay.” And I’ll admit, I idealized what that would be like. I wanted to go where God would allow me to flourish and prosper.
I wanted to stay where life was rich and sweet because of God’s blessing.
But what I’ve since learned is that God will, at times, lead us to places that seem more like despair than prosperity. Places that feel more like death than abundant life, that look more harmful than good.
A few years ago, I found myself again praying, “God, lead me wherever you need me. Wherever you have us, we will go.” Shortly after, my husband and I found ourselves wandering into the trenches of infertility. And in those trenches we stayed. That’s where the Lord had us “live” for years despite my begging to allow us to go elsewhere, to transition to the next season of parenthood.
But for years, and even still today, we stay.
And yet, God has blessed us richly in the midst of grief and heartache and suffering.
Even as we’ve lived in a season we never hoped for and would gladly move out of, He has been faithful.
I have never known God in the intimate ways I know Him now. I’ve never needed Him more and relied so helplessly on Him as my source of comfort and hope and sustenance. I’ve never studied and clung to the truth of God’s Word. I’m not sure I ever would have prayed the words of Ruth if I would have known the season God would call us into.
But despite the grief that lingers in this season, I have deep gratitude to have experienced this kind of intimacy with God.
Even in the trenches, God truly has plans for me to prosper and a future filled with hope.
In the trenches, I cling to this promise and so many others found in God’s Word, knowing that His Word will equip me for righteousness and faithfulness, whether He calls me to stay or go.
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