It’s no secret that Ruth is one of my favorite books in the bible. It was the first book in the bible I read as a little girl just so I could say I had finished a book in the bible. Each time I read it, I get something different.
Probably the most gut-wrenching part of Ruth is the night she proposes to Boaz. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, instructs Ruth on what she should say and do. Ruth dresses up and travels this walk to Boaz’s home to ask him to redeem her. At this point, I’m with her every step of the way. I feel her anticipation, her fear. She has no idea what’s going to happen. Ruth chooses obedience when Naomi tells her to ask Boaz to redeem her. I love that leap of faith into the unknown. And then she asks him the big question. She asks him to redeem her by taking her as his wife.
He doesn’t say yes. He doesn’t say no either. He says wait. Because he’s a decent guy and wants to make sure he does things right. There’s another guy who can redeem her before Boaz can. If this guy says no, Boaz will take Ruth as his wife. And Naomi is so sure everything will turn out okay. Boaz will take care of things so Ruth won’t have to.
Scripture doesn’t say how long Ruth had to wait before she got an answer (Spoiler alert: Boaz redeemed her) but we can take an educated guess and say it took awhile.
I recently took a trip to Washington DC, this big, life-affirming trip, and it was on the plane trip back that I sensed a shift had happened in that week. For the last few years, I’ve been weeding through some pretty broken relationships. God stripped me of things I wanted, things I held over Him. Of all the relationships most damaged, it was walking away from my family and the abusive situation I was in that changed me the most. It has seemed like there is no end in sight to wreckage caused by conflict and pride. And yet, I was sitting on this plane heading home and I felt like my life had shifted directions. Like restoration and reconciliation was finally on the agenda.
And in a matter of days, it seemed like things were starting to move in that direction for multiple situations, including my relationship with my stepfather. In a matter of days, I could see God leading me down this path of restoring what He allowed to be broken in the first place. But as the weeks go by without restoration, I’ve realized just how much time this season of healing will take. I have to hold fast to the process of waiting in a way I haven’t before. It will be at least a month before the process of restoration even happens with my family and there is no foreseeing of when other relationships will be mended. It’s during this time that I’m reminded of Ruth, resting in fellowship with a woman who carried a lot of baggage and had to wait for her redemption.
I’ve learned that God usually makes us wait when He knows what devastation awaits us if He gives us what we want when we want it. He cuts down the weeds that threaten healing so that we can be restored on good soil.
Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out. – Ruth 3:18