Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 22, 2018
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner? Ruth 2:10 (NIV)
In addition to turkey and pumpkin pie, football games, and quality time with family and friends, Thanksgiving invites intentional reflection. It teaches us to cultivate a posture of gratitude for the many blessings we receive from the Lord. It doesn’t ask us to ignore the very real pain and sorrow in our lives. In fact, you may arrive at Thanksgiving this year and feel anything but thankful! Your heart may be torn in two over the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a marriage. You may be struggling to stay afloat financially. Thankfulness, if you’re honest, is the furthest thing from your heart and mind! If this is where you find yourself today, may I encourage you to find a friend in the biblical story of Ruth.
Like Ruth, we must learn to cling to hope and gratitude even in the midst of incredible pain and loss. As a foreigner and a widow, Ruth’s future looked particularly bleak. Especially as a woman in a patriarchal culture, she finds herself in a posture of utter dependence. She has no social standing and is completely at the mercy of the powerful and wealthy. And yet, even in this place of great vulnerability and loss, she remains constant in her devotion, virtue, and gratitude. In fact, her reputation precedes her!
“Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:11-12).
Simply put, Ruth is a model of how to be a person of substance and depth even when nothing in your life seems to be going right. So often, it seems to me, that our ability to live virtuous and thankful lives is entirely dependent on the relative success and stability of our situations. If our relationships are harmonious, if our work is high paying and stress free, if we’re healthy, then we say we can be peaceful, Christ-like people. Yet this kind of stability and success is remarkably elusive, and if we taste it, it can disappear just as quickly as it appears.
As such, if we can’t pursue God within life’s challenging moments, we may never pursue him at all. If we can only connect with God when everything feels calm and under control, we may miss him entirely! Ruth is in every way a model of faithfulness. And part of faithfulness is finding the strength to press into hard and difficult places, trusting that God will meet us in and through them. If we can do this, we will learn to give thanks in every season of life!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Father, thank you that you are always with us, in good times and in bad. Give us hearts of gratitude that seek you in every circumstance, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
How can you pursue God with a grateful heart today, even in the midst of the trials and pain you face?
Part of faithfulness is finding the strength to press into hard and difficult places, trusting that God will meet us in and through them. #WisdomHunters #givingthanks
5 minutes- David Phelps:
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