One of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of Ruth. We all know the story; Ruth loses her husband and needs to make a choice between staying with her mother-in-law, Naomi, or walking away like her sister-in-law and starting a new life. Ruth decides to stay with her mother-in-law and journeys back with Naomi to her homeland of Bethlehem where she meets Boaz and gets married and starts her happily ever after. It’s a beautiful story of loyalty and love but the more I read it, the more I see it’s a story of courage. Specifically, Ruth’s courage to step out in faith.
After being back in Bethlehem for a while, Naomi comes up with a plan to get Ruth married to Boaz. She instructs her make it known to him that she is available for marriage by going Boaz while he sleeping and lay herself at his feet. Literally. I don’t know about you but the thought of walking up to a man and laying at his feet to let him know that I am available for marriage doesn’t sit that well with me. It’s the equivalent of going up to a long distant relative and letting them know in no uncertain terms that you are available for marriage and that you want them to marry you. Yet, that is exactly what Ruth did.
I would imagine there was some hesitation on Ruth’s part at going to Boaz and making her intentions knows, especially as there had been no real relationship between the two of them. She was putting herself out there not knowing if Boaz would actually redeem her. She was putting her reputation, her self-respect and heart on the line by laying at his feet because the truth is that he could very well have rejected her. They assumed he was a decent man based on his reputation and what they had seen of him, but really, they couldn’t have been sure they would get the outcome they wanted. Ruth had no guarantee that he would step up and redeem her, so she was really taking a really bold step of faith by going to him. That level of boldness takes courage. A lot of courage. But the more we read about the Ruth, the more courage we see, and we really see it in chapter 3, when Boaz wakes up to find her at his feet,
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.” (Ruth 3:9)
Not only does Ruth lay herself at his feet and wait patiently for him to wake up and find her, when asked, she tells him exactly what she needs and wants. Her actions, both spoken and unspoken, were a way of saying, ‘I need protection and coverage. I need provision and you can provide that, so please provide it.’ Personally, I struggle to ask for help when I need it, yet we see Ruth put aside all fear and pride and nerves to speak out what she needs. Ruth sets a great example of being bold and taking a leap of faith. She took her requests to the one that she believed could redeem her and provide for her. She lay at his feet and poured out her requests. She didn’t hold back or side step what she really wanted; she was bold and spoke out exactly what it is that she wanted. Fearlessly. Courageously. And we can do the same today.
Recognising our need for provision and protection takes courage. Speaking it out takes more courage. We are taught to ‘put on a brave face.’ To not show weakness. We live in a world where meekness is seen as weakness yet, it takes a lot of courage to search your own heart and uncover what you really want and need, then to go and ask for it. Like Ruth, we have a Redeemer that can and will provide for us but the difference is that we know our Redeemer will answer our call. We know he will answer our prayer because we have a Savior that invites us to share our heart with Him. He tore the veil so that we would have complete access to Him and freely go to His Throne and pour out our heart.
Will He always answer with a ‘yes’? No, He won’t, but sometimes the best yes we can get is a no. And just because we have no guarantee that He will give us exactly what we want, it doesn’t mean we can’t ask. It doesn’t mean that we can’t dream big and dream of being world changers and light bearers for His Kingdom. Our Redeemer is the King of Kings and the Lord of the impossible, so nothing we ask is too hard for Him. He knows what is best for us, so we can be confident that His provision will far exceed anything we can possible imagine.
Today, can I encourage us to be dreamers. Can I encourage us to be people that think big and dream bigger. And can I encourage us to boldly step up to His Throne, lay at His feet and ask for what it is our heart desires; big or small, crazy or impossible, let us go to Him knowing that the One that redeemed us by His blood has His arms wide open waiting to embrace us.
As posted to International Christian Fiction Writers