One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, —Ruth 2:2-3
“Let me go…pick up…grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.”
Ruth and Naomi are destitute widows. They have no source of income, no property, and no one to advocate for them. Widowhood has created holes in their financial stability, social standing, and opportunities for the future. Ancient Israel provided no social safety nets for poor widows. They were solely dependent upon the kindness of others to have their basic needs met.
COVID has taken things from our lives and left holes. Each person has been impacted by it differently, but the one thing we all have in common is the knowledge of being powerless to make the world the way we want it to be or the way it used to be. Just as Ruth could not change her poverty, we cannot change our powerlessness.
Ruth, in spite of her desperate situation, decided she would do what she could. By begging to work for grain, she was communicating her willingness to work where she could work and act where she could move. Here is a secret to the inner life: God seems to be most active in our lives when we are willing to work where we can. Moses was tending sheep when he had his burning bush moment. Gideon was harvesting grain when the Angel of the Lord showed up. David was doing chores when the prophet came to find the next king. Peter, James, and John were on the clock when Jesus showed up and said, “Come, follow me.” Ruth will meet Boaz, her God-send, because she was willing to work wherever the door was open.
If God has gone silent in your COVID world, I suggest you get busy doing what you can with what you have where you are. Stop mourning. Stop complaining. Stop being afraid. Stop distracting yourself. Stop having a pity party. Stop giving up. Do something. Work. Serve. Share. Give. Don’t just be busy. Start adulting. Care for yourself and someone else at the same time. We greatly increase our chances of encountering God when we are responsibly caring, working, moving, and doing. This kind of living is proof that we are trusting God to provide and move on our behalf.
As it happened…
From Ruth’s perspective, she just happened to start working in Boaz’s field. To her, it was a random wheat field where no one chased her away. But when one is moving in faith, nothing happens by chance. It is all part of a Divine plan. Ruth had no idea she had just started moving towards God’s grace for her.
When you and I actively “faith” God, nothing happens by chance. We enter the Faith Zone. The Faith Zone rarely feels comfortable. We feel dependent and vulnerable. We usually feel humble and needy and small. We bring nothing to the table but the meager resources of a willing attitude and a weak hope—but that’s enough. God seems to notice our limitations more than our abilities.
I can’t prove it, but I bet Ruth felt pretty small that day working in a stranger’s backyard. It is how I feel some days when I come into the office or get ready to share God’s Word on a Sunday morning. I bet it is how you feel sometimes in this world right now.
If this is you—if you are responsibly moving forward the best you can with the little faith you have—you are in good company. You have entered the Faith Zone and are racing toward the grace God has for you. Press on. The Almighty God will meet you there. I know it doesn’t make sense, but God’s ways are just different from ours.
Only You, by Young Oceans featuring Evan Wickham, is a good song for the journey. Enjoy.