June 24, 2014

a redemption story.

I was reading in the book of Ruth one day recently. Now, I've read Ruth 100 times in my life. The story is familiar and comforting- a small bit of history concerning Jesus' family tree. In my life, growing up in the church and hearing these Bible stories time and again, I think I've grown numb to Bible stories. I read it and I think, "Yeah, yeah... I know how this story ends." Then I close the door to the Spirit and nothing sinks in.

This day, the Spirit whooshed over me like a great wind as I read about Ruth following behind the harvesters in Boaz's grain fields.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women.  Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” (Ruth 2:8-9)
This passage may say something entirely different to your heart, but what the Lord spoke to me that day shook me to the core. It's the reason I've returned to social media, and now to blogging! God, so gently, whispered to me that I belong here, in this online community and surrounded by creative people.

I'd given up on following my dreams when I quit blogging last year. I quit believing that my voice was valuable. I started to think that I didn't have anything worth contributing: I'm just a boring, awkwardly aging homemaker from Alabama. Who would take me seriously? Who would hear (really hear) my heart?

Redeemed

God used the Book of Ruth to remind me that He can take unlikely people and give them a great lineage if they are obedient to Him. Ruth was an outsider: a widowed Moabite woman living in Israel with her aging mother-in-law. In those days, this spelled her identity as a N O B O D Y.

But Boaz was a generous man, and he saw beauty and potential in Ruth. He offered her protection among his people, and ultimately became her husband- a "kinsman redeemer" -giving her a family and a home: a place to belong.

The story of Ruth foreshadows the gift Jesus gave Christians by redeeming us for the family of God. Also, Ruth was given a place in the lineage leading to the birth of Jesus. She was grafted into His family tree and God honored her great persistence and faith.

I'm learning to believe again that my story matters, even if my life doesn't look like what you'd expect or even what I'd choose a lot of the time. God is doing something in this hot mess. I don't know what it is! But He's given me permission to follow behind a great community of creative and inspiring people, gleaning from them and patiently waiting for each step he'll ask me to take on the journey ahead.

Original image credit: George Thomas

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