Gleaning in the Midst of Transition
Can we just be real for a moment? I like change, the new and improved, but I’m not a fan of the process. There’s been a lot of transition in my world lately, and well, frankly, I’ve sucked at it. Throwing tantrums, rushing ahead, not wanting to wait, but wanting to give up. It’s messy and really hard.
So after screaming and tantrum-ing like a toddler for a few days I did what I should have done weeks ago.
I sat down at the feet of Jesus. Exhausted from my own writhing and frustrated at my own rebellion, I finally relented and asked Him about this horrible ordeal, truly begging Him to just make it better.
He introduced me to Ruth.
Maybe you’ve already met her? She’s the one who left her own family to follow her mother-in-law after they’d both been widowed. Her act of obedient vulnerability places her in the lineage of King David and later, Jesus. Awesome.
“This is all beautiful God, and I do like Ruth, but what does this have to do with transition?” I grunted. You see, I wanted to skip from the struggle to the redemption just like I thought her story did from her husbands death right into her introduction to Boaz.
But there was a transition in-between, and a big one.
Back up, just a little bit. Ruth was a Moabite, not an Israelite. She met her husband, an Israelite, after his family had moved from Israel to avoid famine. They lived and loved together for many years, maybe as many as ten. Ruth spent many days cooking and laundering and chatting with Naomi (her Mother-in-law). I’m pretty sure Naomi talked about home, about Israel and their life there. Faith, no doubt, was a hot topic and somewhere along the way, Ruth encountered God.
Because, she later chose to follow Him with Naomi, follow God from life in Moab to life in Israel. She moved into her promise.
But not without “the process of changing”, “transformation”, “progression”.
When God asked me to go back and read about Ruth again, despite my little tantrum. One verse popped out.
Ruth had decided to go glean (gather) in the fields behind the harvesters. The owner of the field (Boaz) takes notice of her and calls her over. He offers her water and gives her permission to gather (otherwise she was technically stealing). As he does this she “bows low with her face to the ground” with gratitude. (Ruth 2:10) And Boaz again responds:
“May the Lord repay you for what you have done (for Naomi). May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12
You see, Ruth chose to rest her heart under the Lord’s refuge. She made a conscious decision to trust God and glean, with gratitude in the present. We think that rest simply comes to us, like vacation days earned. It doesn’t. We have to choose rest even in the midst of all the messiness. We have to work at it, we have to harvest it, even when facing our greatest need.
Ruth did the work, she showed up at the field and toiled in the heat of the day. She put herself in the place of position to receive God’s blessing, she walked behind the harvesters and later she laid at Boaz’s feet. And she gleaned, slowly gathered, what the Lord was providing in this new place for both for her immediate needs and for her long term dreams.
As my world morphs and changes into this new promise, this new growth, I will choose to sit under the wings of the Lord and glean His provision for today. I will do the work He’s called me to, today. And rest in the promise of tomorrow.
May it look more like bowing low with gratitude, than tantrum-ing at the pace of this process.