Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Week 4 - Proceed/Wait

Some time ago, in my college years, someone recommended a book for single women based on the life and character of Ruth. It has a cheesy title, a kinda corny cover, and nuggets of wisdom for single and married women alike. The title--Lady in Waiting.

This week, we looked at how Naomi and Ruth exemplified both proceeding and waiting with the same character qualities outlined in this chapter. Waiting with integrity, confidence, expectation. Proceeding without all the information, despite obstacles, and without understanding why. For me, this has been another instance of seeing how God's revelation comes (more often than not) after obedience. Motivated by love and loyalty, Ruth's decision to go out into the fields of a strange landowner in a strange community and glean intersects with God's divine Providence("As it turned out," Ruth 2:3). A life of abundant blessing was in store for her. A plan is in the works as Naomi, revived by God's and Ruth's kindness to her, desires to see Ruth well-provided for. Ruth makes a gutsy risk in how she asks Boaz to redeem both the family and the land, for she desires to see both the family line preserved and Naomi secured. There's a night in the barn, a request, and an answer.

But the first words Naomi says to Ruth the next morning: "Wait, my daughter." Having done what was in their abilities to do--placing the request at Boaz's feet--the women wait for their kinsmen-redeemer to do what they cannot--sacrifice his wealth and riches to restore and rescue.

Once again, these "hard things" to do are so interconnected. Fear of failure and a tolerance of mediocrity often keep us from proceeding as God calls us. If we take our focus off Him, we lack trust, faith, and patience in the "before hindsight" time. (We want to live in hindsight, in the look-how-God-sustained-us time, not the in-the-middle-of-it-all.) We want to remain in comfort, security, and what we know; we fear change, the unknown, and what He might reveal in us.

This was a good chapter to listen to others' stories, with their perspective of hindsight or "still in the middle of it"! Continue to pray for those in our group who are waiting to proceed or simply waiting.

  • Which is harder for you--proceed or wait? (Or the third choice brought up: knowing when!)
  • What other Biblical persons are called to proceed? Who is called to wait? What is the common denominator?
  • Are there things in your life God is asking you to proceed with?
  • What are some of the obstacles that hinder or prevent us from proceeding?
  • How patient are you in most areas of life on a scale of 1-10?
  • Are you waiting with a positive attitude towards God and expecting great things from him?

We'll proceed onto Chapter 5 next week--Hold On/Let Go.

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