Dealing with a Life Change? A bend in the road sometimes requires a measure of faith. By Debra Torres
Holding up the 100-year-old wooden flail, our Sunday School teacher explained it was a threshing tool similar to the ones used in the days of Ruth.
We had been studying about Ruth in the Bible, and seeing the flail was like stepping back into time for me.
Amazed, I ran my hand along the tool’s smooth, wooden surface and touched the hardened leather that joined its two pieces together.
Ruth must have been a pretty strong woman to swing that flail over her head and beat down on the barley she gleaned from Boaz’s field.
I had enough trouble a few weeks ago, trying to hold and start our gas-powered weed wacker!
I can’t imagine beating down on the barley again and again with that flail in an attempt to separate the grain from its husks. I’m sure Ruth’s hungry stomach, and her mother-in-law Naomi’s depended on Ruth’s strength.
And, if your familiar at all with Ruth’s story, you know that she had to use that strength in many other ways as well.
You see Ruth faced many challenges when her husband died. Suddenly, she was a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world and nothing was “for certain” anymore.
Ruth could have played it safe and stuck with her own people, the Moabites, after her husband was gone. But she chose instead, to follow her widowed mother-in-law back to her Jewish homeland, saying: “… Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” Ruth 1:16.
And I’m sure that Ruth was more than a little frightened at the risk she took.
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when, like Ruth, you faced an ending to what was “normal” for you? And, maybe you couldn’t quite see how your life was going to carry on from there?
I remember when I was in college and dating a man I thought I was going to marry. An unexpected break up ended all my dreams and suddenly I was left without a plan. Shortly after that, I was driving on a country road a little lost one day and thinking that that road was a lot like my life.
It’s a scary feeling isn’t it? And I’m thinking that Ruth must have felt the same way when she chose to stick with Naomi and journey to Bethlehem with her.
Ruth knew no one there and I’m sure the question of food and shelter must have entered her thoughts more than once
But God had a plan, as you may already know, and Ruth “just happened” to pick the field of Boaz (a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband) to glean the leftover barley in one day.
And as the story goes, Ruth finds favor in the eyes of Boaz and eventually becomes his wife.
When talking about Ruth, my Sunday School teacher raised an important question: “How would Ruth have supported herself,” he said. “If the intervention that was coming hadn’t occurred?”
In other words, if Ruth hadn’t landed in the field of Boaz, would she have survived?
I’m thinking, yes.
Because Ruth chose to follow God, that made her his responsibility. And I know from experience that God takes care of his kids. Christian writer and pastor Andrew Murray (1828-1917) said this, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”
What a comfort.
And Barry Adams from “365 Promises” wrote this in today’s daily devotional: “Have you ever come to a fork in a road and not sure which road to take? I know that often when I have gone hiking, there inevitably comes a time on the trail where it splits off to the right and then left and I am not always sure which path to take. Wouldn't it be nice if at that exact moment, you had a trail guide standing behind whispering in your ear what to do?
“In today's Bible promise, (“I will be the voice behind you, guiding you in the way you should go.”) God is saying that He is right behind us and He will tell us the way we should go. What a comforting thought to know that we are not left on our own to figure things out.”