As I’ve been thinking about how we can learn from this whole experience of 2020 and the experiences that people have had in the past, of course one individual that came to mind was Job, who experienced some spectacular challenges and experienced more loss in a short time than most of us do in a lifetime. I’ve lately been reading through the book of Jeremiah, and he was given some less-than-awesome tasks to do as part of getting the word out about God and getting people to take an honest look at their lives. But one of the verses that came to my inbox today was about the individual and story of Ruth. I’ve shared about her before many times during our spiritual posts, but she’s a worthy figure to look at for our victory post today as well.
If you haven’t read her story lately or ever, you can go do that here, it’s just 4 chapters long. But the short version is that the story starts with a famine in the land, Ruth gets married, doesn’t have any kids before her husband dies, she chooses to go with her mother-in-law back to where her mother-in-law is from (and she herself knows no one), does hard work at a farm type place, gets sent on a rather risky blind date of sorts, ends up married to the guy and has kids (she’s part of the genealogy of Jesus), and they all live happily ever after.
It’s a lot like the story that many of us are facing with losing our family members unexpectedly to the virus, facing unprecedented job loss and industry closures, and facing illnesses that we’ve never dealt with before. There have been some positives throughout the year, but most of them happened because we were able to work through or overcome the challenges we were experiencing. Some of us have discovered through this year’s challenges exactly how capable we really are, some of us have been extremely challenged by the loss of control and normalcy and have struggled to even keep up with the basics of life, and others of us have been able to rely on the strong foundation of hope, support, community, and commitment that we’ve made over the years both to others and to ourselves.
The commitment we make to ourselves and to others can often be the key that helps victories happen. Most victories aren’t the smooth, straightforward journey we would like them to be, rather they’re full of twists, turns, failures, delays and confusion. I don’t know anyone who would really like to live the challenges that Ruth, Job or Jeremiah experienced. No one chooses to lose family members they love or face what seem like insurmountable losses. But Job chose to be committed and faithful to himself and God, and Ruth committed to God and her mother-in-law and herself. It’s those commitments that gave them the courage and strength to make some really tough choices and push through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.
I encourage you to choose to commit to yourself, as well as those in your life that matter most to you like God and some/all of your family/friends. It may be the difference maker that helps you get to your victories this week, or at least helps you get a strong step or two closer.
“But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”” Ruth 1:16