I hadn’t been “drawing near” – and I could tell. I felt like a fraud. An outsider. A foreigner in my own relationship with the Lord.
As I was chatting to the Lord, (still feeling very distant) and being honest in what was going on…I felt compelled to turn to the book of Ruth.
Now, Ruth is a book I really love. I’ve heard several sermons on the Boaz and his love for Ruth. I’ve heard the connection made about the kinsmen redeemer (Boaz) and how Jesus is OUR kinsman Redeemer. So I didn’t think I was going to read anything new.
I was wrong.
Ruth 2: 8-10, 13-14 and 15-17
Then Boaz spoke to Ruth: “Listen, my daughter. From now on don’t go to any other field to glean – stay right here in this one. And stay close to my young women. Watch where they are harvesting and follow them. And don’t worry about a thing; I’ve given orders to my servants not to harass you. When you get thirsty, feel free to go and drink from the water buckets that the servants have filled.”
She dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. “How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly – me, a foreigner?”
She said, “Oh sir, such grace, such kindness – I don’t deserve it. You’ve touched my heart, treated me like one of your own. And I don’t even belong here!”
At the lunch break, Boaz said to her, “Come over here; eat some bread. Dip it in the wine.” So she joined the harvesters. Boaz passed the roasted grain to her. She ate her fill and even had some left over.
When she got up to go back to work, Boaz ordered his servants: “Let her glean where there’s still plenty of grain on the ground – make it easy for her. Better yet, pull some of the good stuff out and leave it for her to glean. Give her special treatment.”
Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. When she threshed out what she had gathered, she ended up with nearly a full sack of barley!
BOAZ reached out to Ruth first. He offered her bread and wine. (sound familiar?) He saw she was seeking and made sure she found what she looking for. He loved that her, even as she was a foreigner in the land – an outsider. He loved her. He treated her with kindness and mercy – even though she had done nothing for Boaz.
Jesus loves me in the same way. Even when I feel like an outsider, someone who doesn’t belong, a failure and a fraud – He reaches out to me and treats me with kindness and mercy.
Jesus invites me to dine at the table and feast on the bread and the wine! (Matthew 26:26-28) When I am hungry and thirsty, Jesus offers me the Bread of Life and Living Water!
Boaz made sure Ruth could find what she was looking for. And in the same way, when I am searching, Jesus makes sure I can find Him. “Seek and you will find…”
Though I couldn’t physically “see” God, I felt His presence in a very real way that day. I knew He was there with me, loving me. Offering me the spiritual food and drink I needed to fill up on! As the beautiful revelations hit me, I wept. (and secretly hoped no one would see my puffy eyes) I was overwhelmed with joy.
And ever since that day, I’ve wanted to add the name Ruth to my regular name. Donna Ruth. How does that sound? I don’t think it’s catching on. I suppose I’ll just have to print it out and paste it to my writing cubby as a reminder of the sweet, sweet love of the Lord…even when I feel like an outsider!