Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Faith

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thro' life has been my Guide?

Heav'nly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell!

For I know, whate'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.




The above lyric is from a hymn I learned during a time of deep doubt that wasn't going away as quickly as I wished. My struggle was not over God's character--my belief that He is soveriegn and good and faithful was not diminished. I struggled over myself. I lost confidence that I was actually following Him-- what I felt like was His will that I sought in His Word and by prayer while I made decisions all of sudden seemed like colossal presumptions on my part.

I'm not in ultimate control and I'm glad. I do have to make choices, but I don't know everything. I can't. In the meantime, I do my best to follow Him. As time flies, the more I see how infinite God is and how finite I am. And it does comfort me--I have much to be thankful for, but things sometimes change on a dime. How will I handle that? Will I remember God's love even when it seems by my circumstances that He doesn't?

Our international group at church has a women's study on the Book of Ruth. In it we meet two widows--the older Isrealite Naomi and her young Moabitess daughter-in-law, Ruth. Naomi's name means "Pleasant" and Ruth's name means "Friend". Naomi goes back home to Judah with Ruth, who vowed to never leave her. Naomi changed her name to "Mara" meaning "Bitter". She is struggling with God's will, but Ruth isn't giving up. Ruth makes choices to get out and do something to support herself and Naomi.

I usually identified with Ruth in my past readings as a young woman, but as a middle aged believer, I really "get" Naomi. She says the things we are all thinking when we feel God has dealt with us harshly. But she is still a woman of faith nonetheless, I think. He is still God to her, even though she doesn't understand what His purposes are.

Ruth just does what flows from her good character--loving Naomi unconditionally--which doesn't go unnoticed in their small village or by Boaz, her eventual Kinsmen-Redeemer. Naomi is the widow that recognizes what God is doing through Ruth, who doesn't know what is going on.

The thing that strikes me about Naomi is that she knows that there are still relatives around who might be able to be the Kinsmen-Redeemer. But she doesn't tell Ruth about the possibilities, she doesn't give her advice until she sees that God brought Ruth to Boaz's fields and proof that Boaz cares about Ruth. She doesn't do anything at all to plan or control her circumstances at all. She doesn't ask anything from anyone. But she is ready when she sees that the door is open. To me, this would have to take a ton of discipline and self restraint. To me, this is faith.

And that is why I like Naomi so much.

No comments: