Every once in a great while, our house quiets down just enough for The Hubs and I to have an entire conversation from beginning to end (the children go outside, we bribe them with tv, put their mouths in timeout, pawn them off on the grandparents...you get the idea). It's rare. I can actually count on my two hands the number of uninterrupted conversations we've had in the last 9 years. These conversations usually involve the honey-do list I am reciting from memory (often the same list I recited the week before) or what we have going on for the weekend, a quick rundown of who said what this week or who needs us where. But every once in a while, the stars align and Heaven itself shines down on us and we can have a conversation about what the Lord has been showing us in His Word. I'd love to say we have these conversations after our quite times every single day, but let's be honest, my quiet time usually involves hiding with my devotional in my closet while I'm supposed to be getting dressed, my prayer time is most often done in the parent pick-up line of the elementary school, and I get the best praise on while listening to my iPod and scrubbing my dishes. Don't judge. It is what it is right now.
So this past week The Hubs and I spent some time in the book of Ruth. We actually never made it past the first half of the first chapter. There is just so much to be learned from this book. So many important lessons. We talked and shared and insighted and got some serious God-revelation…all while our children were awake, not in trouble and playing peacefully outside. (The little one may or may not have had clothes on…but that's beside the point.) Needless to say, this conversation just felt anointed.
There was one lesson that stuck out to me in particular. Well, there were actually three, but we'll start with one. My whole life I've heard the story of Ruth and admired her, gleaned from her story, but this particular day it was Naomi's story that struck me…that really made me think. Naomi endured some crazy tragedies, y’all!
Mini-recap…Jaci style: Naomi's husband moved her away from her home to a foreign land where she eventually watched him die. Then after some time passed, this widow lost, not one of her sons, but both of them. It would be at this point that I would tell the Lord to just go ahead and take me home. And I don’t mean back to Bethlehem. I mean I’d be ready to see some pearly gates! This momma would be ready to throw in the towel!
Naomi packed up what little she had left on this Earth and decided to return to her homeland…to the one thing that was still familiar to her. And her amazing daughter-in-law, Ruth, selflessly followed her.
Here's where we usually follow Ruth's story as she works in the field and eventually catches the eye of Boaz. Butterflies flutter in bellies, hearts float out of heads, everybody gets all twitterpated and lovey-dovey. Boaz thinks Ruth is hot. Ruth falls head over heals for Boaz. "Will you take this kinsman redeemer to be your husband for as long as you both shall live?" "Yes!" (Batting eyelashes) And they live happily ever after. The end. And all the good 'ol Christian single ladies sigh and say, "Lord, bring me my Boaz…"
But the love story isn't where I went that day. Because we didn't get out of the first chapter, remember? And because I was getting all this Jesus goodness with The Hubs which means none of that mooshy-gooshy nonsense! So here’s what I want you to see. To remember.
Naomi was being watched. (Not is a creepy way, just go with me here!)
Ruth had watched Naomi go through the hardest trials that any mother should ever have to experience. She watched as Naomi lost her husband. She grieved alongside her when Naomi's sons died. She stood by while Naomi decided that she had had enough of Moab and was going back home, packing up and hauling butt back to Bethlehem. Through all of that. Through the worst that life can throw at a woman, Ruth watched Naomi. And after watching her, Ruth was willing to leave everything for whatever it was that Naomi possessed that got her through Hell on Earth. Ruth wanted the God that Naomi had.
Here’s where I get super excited. If you know the story of Ruth (and you may need to know it better than my snazzy little recap above) you know that marrying Boaz put Ruth in the ancestry of Christ Himself. Because of the way Naomi reacted to trials, to tragedy, the course of history shifted for Ruth. Ruth’s present didn’t just change. Her LEGACY changed. One more time, now: by following Naomi, Ruth became an ancestor of Christ. The way Naomi handled adversity affected the course of history for all mankind. Are y'all getting this? Ruth could have gone back to her people, to her gods, but she was watching Naomi. And history shifted.
Ruth has a squishy little baby, and she named him Obed.
Obed grew up, and his wife had Jesse.
Jesse grew up, and his wife had David.
God loved David.
David gets a crown.
Lots of scandal.
Lots more weddings.
Lots more babies.
"So where are you going with all of this? Jesus was already born so no matter how many squishy babies I have, the Savior of the world isn't gonna be in my family line." You're right. But that's not where I'm going with this. The point I'm trying to make in my very long-winded way is this:
You're being watched. (Quit imagining a stalker!)
Lord willing, none of us will ever have to endure “Naomi sized” trails. But I promise you there are those who are watching you, watching your faith. They may be watching your world fall apart. They may be watching you as you lose loved ones. They may be watching you as you deal with health scares and challenges. Rebellious teenagers. Moral dilemmas. Financial struggle. Whether or not your going to leave your screaming toddler in the candy aisle at the grocery store and pretend she isn't yours. Ahem.
There are people that are watching you because they know that you believe in a God that they aren't familiar with. You believe in a God that created the heavens and the Earth and all of humanity with a word. There are people watching your faith. YOU COULD BE THE TOOL THAT WILL SHIFT A LEGACY. Your reaction to trials can shift history not just for you and your family, but for people that you may not even know yet. So my challenge to you, God's challenge to me: Be a legacy changer. (And don't leave your toddler in the candy aisle of the store. They have security cameras. They will find you. Just sayin'.)