What Do You Do When Your Life Feels Like a Nightmare? – Ruth 4

Everyone likes a story with a happy ending. If you just read the end of the book of Ruth, you’ll see a happily ever after. You don’t know, however, the heartache, loss, struggles, sacrifices, and setbacks that they’ve lived through. Ruth had a lot of pain and loss, but God used it to bring her to Himself. In Ruth 1:16 we read that Ruth turned her back on her old life and old gods of Chemosh and put her faith in the One true and living God. Her faith is what got her through. It is only when we look back on life that we see the hand of God. You may not be living in the happily ever after chapter of your life yet, but I want to remind you that God is not through writing your story! Before we look at the end of Ruth 4, let’s look at what she went through to get there.

Faith for the Famine

Ruth 1:1 says, “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.” Naomi and her husband Elimelech and their two sons and ran to Moab. You can’t run from your problems. There have always been famines, financial downturns, plagues, and pandemics. Being a Christian does not mean you are not going to have financial needs. It just means your Heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask. He owns the cattle a thousand hills. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. If you have faith in God, He will see you through!

Faith for the Funerals

Not only was there a famine, but there was great loss. In Ruth 1:3-5 we learn that Ruth lost her husband. Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, lost her husband and both of her sons. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that your loved ones will not die or that death will not come to your family. One out of one dies. For the Christian, we sorrow but not as those who have no hope. Look at the hope found in John 14:1-6. Because of the cross and the resurrection, we have the hope of heaven and eternity.

Faith for the Frustrations

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem. Naomi was quick to say that her life had become bitter and empty (Ruth 1:20). That may be the chapter you are in right now. Frustrated in a season of loss or of feeling empty. Miracles do not produce faith. Impossibilities produce faith. Three days after the parting of the Red Sea, they are thirsty and the water they find is bitter. Life is filled with bitter experiences. Moses cried out to God, and God showed Moses a tree. The tree was there all the time, but God revealed it to him when he prayed! God told Moses to throw in the tree and the water became sweet. The tree is symbolic of the cross. Life is bitter-sweet. Don’t throw in the towel, throw in the cross. Put the cross in all the bitter experiences of life and God will turn it sweet. Whatever frustrations have left you bitter, they are not the end of your story!

Faith for the Field

As Ruth 2 begins, Ruth tells Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor” (v. 2). You have to look for God in the field. Getting up day after day, going to work, going to school, doing the dull routine of life, when you least expect it, God will show up in your field. In verse 3, we read Ruth ended up working in a field belonging to Boaz. Some Bible versions say, “It just so happened.” Ruth had no clue where she was going to find work. When we are at work, God is at work! Big doors of opportunity swing on small hinges of obedience. God knows your name and knows where you live. He has not forgotten you! He has called so many people when they were working in their field. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, and others. Boaz ended up inviting Ruth to lunch. Then, there were months of silence! No second date. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? She kept getting up and going to work. She works, waits, and does her job faithfully.  

Faith for the Fears

At the beginning of Ruth 3, Ruth steps out in faith. She goes to Boaz and uncovers his feet. In the culture that the time, this was Ruth proposing that Boaz propose! She asked Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer. She risked rejection and surrendered everything at the feet of Boaz. Scripture tells us we can cast all our care upon the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Cast all your worry, anxiety, fears, life, all your dreams, and everything you are and ever hope to be at the feet of Jesus. Ruth wasn’t living her plan. Her husband had died! But, God was still writing her story. He is still writing your story.

Faith for the Future

In Ruth 4, we learn that Boaz wants to marry Ruth but there is another man in the way. Another man was next in line. The other man was going to redeem the land but when he learned that Ruth came with it, he viewed it has a bad investment. Boaz saw it as a great investment. How are you looking at your present circumstances? Boaz and Ruth ended up getting married and they lived happily ever after.

Maybe instead of a dream, your season feels more like a nightmare. God is not finished writing your story! There are three very encouraging statements in the last part of Ruth 4. We read that the Lord makes (v. 11), the Lord gives (v. 12), and the Lord enables (v. 13). Whatever you are facing, God is able! The same women who saw Naomi as bitter in chapter one, were the ones praising the Lord over His goodness to her in verse 14.

The LORD provided in the famine. The LORD healed their brokenness. The LORD removed Naomi’s bitterness. The LORD opened the door while Ruth was in the field. The LORD answered her prayer for a husband and child. The LORD made a way where there was no way. In Matthew 1, Ruth and Boaz are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. In the early years of famine, loss, and hardship, Ruth could have had no idea what the Lord would do. God was just beginning to write the story! God can be trusted with the season you’re in today. Let your faith in Him be the encouragement you need to keep going, keep praying, and keep hoping.

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