Ruth 1: 1-7, 2 Peter 2: 6, James 1: 2-4, Song of Songs 4: 16
At some point in all of our lives we will face difficult circumstances. The times that are tough, when we feel the bitter, harsh north winds of life biting into us; The times when we experience suffering.
How we respond to these times is key. Do we turn to God? Or do we let go of His hand and walk away?
I believe in the book of Ruth there is a good example for us all of what not to do in these circumstances.
Ruth 1: 1-7 shares the story of Elimelech, his wife Naomi and their two sons.
Elimelech and his family were Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah and they had a great inheritance. They came from the house of bread (Bethlehem) in the place of praise and celebration (Judah) and their tribe's name meant fruitfulness. Elimelech's own name means strength or mighty and Naomi means pleasant, delight, beauty or splendour. Can you see the picture?
Then the circumstance hits. There's famine in the land. This is the point of decision. Everything has been more than okay up until now and then suddenly there's a change. How will Elimelech and Naomi respond?
The answer? Not well. They have two sons and they name them Mahlon which means sick, weak, afflicted or to grieve and Chilion which means pining, destruction, consumption or failing.
The naming of their two sons shows me the state of their heart before God within their test. There's no hope or trust, only despair, hopelessness and giving up.
From this place in their hearts they make a decision to move to Moab. And what a terrible decision this was. Firstly Moab was the incestuous son of Lot, which does not sound like the place of Gods favour and blessing; this is confirmed by the fruit from their choice, death. Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion all die. The book of Ruth doesn't even tell us how, as that is not the point. The importance is only in the fact that they died.
Then what happens? God turns up. He visits Bethlehem, Judah giving them bread. The famine is over, but Elimelech and his family are not there.
If I could encourage you in anything, it would be to not turn your back on God, no matter what you're going through. He will come into your situation and eventually it will pass, as it says in 2 Peter 2: 6 '.if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.' Don't give up on your God. He is faithful and He is just and He will not leave you or forsake you. Please, turn to Him and trust Him and even though it may seem impossible and be so painful, please, as it says in James 1: 2-4:
'Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.'
And if I even may be so bold as to say, that eventually, in keeping walking on this path with Him, you will be so captivated by Jesus, so totally given over to Him in your heart, so awe struck to be in His presence and to have any contact with Him, that you'll say:
'Awake north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that it's fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into His garden and taste its choice fruits.' Song of Songs 4: 16The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all Life Files by Heather Bellamy