June 12, 2017
When Your Circumstances Feel Like Chains
“But Naomi said, ‘Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?’ … Then they lifted up their voices and wept again.” Ruth 1:11, 14a (ESV)
I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. The nurse’s words rang in my ears, “The doctor wants you in the bed.”
My doctor ordered me to park myself in bed for the sake of my unborn child. His life and mine depended on it. But as I gazed at the four smiling little faces in the chairs next to me I panicked, Who will take care of them, God?
In an out-of-body type moment, I looked at the nurse and declared, “God will provide,” although I’m not positive I believed it.
We pulled into the driveway, and I settled my energetic bunch for a moment before I crawled into bed and broke down. I argued with God: How can this possibly honor You more, God? How can I possibly serve You better from this bed than on my feet?
I felt chained to that bed, unable to participate in God’s plans and purposes. But it was from that bed that God showed me, sometimes what we call imprisoned, God calls positioned.
In today’s key verse we meet three widows on a road lined with the chains of death and poverty. After several years in a foreign land, Naomi embarks for her home in Israel and pleads with her two daughters-in-law to stay. Orpah and Ruth, both Moabites, had married Naomi’s sons yet were widows, just as Naomi was. “But Naomi said, ‘Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?’ … Then they lifted up their voices and wept again” (Ruth 1:11, 14a).
Naomi knew she could not provide husbands for Orpah and Ruth, and she knew the reality of a widow with no sons. Her future looked bleak, so she begged her daughters-in-law not to come with her.
Orpah listened and eventually yielded to Naomi’s push. Ruth, however, did not. “But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God’” (Ruth 1:16, ESV).
No matter how hopeless the situation seemed, Ruth made a decision to trust God on that road … and she didn’t stop there. Chapters 2 and 3 in the book of Ruth detail her determination to be faithful with each day.
We see her set out to glean in the fields behind the harvesters — a provision God made in the Law to care for the poor people of Israel. We read of how Ruth cared for Naomi and supported her, not thinking of herself or her own needs.
And as we watch her story of faithfulness unfold, we see God do something only God Himself could orchestrate, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife” (Ruth 4:13a, ESV).
In her faithfulness to serve God and others, Ruth landed in a field belonging to Boaz. And Boaz happened to be legally able to marry her, which he did. Ruth gave birth to a son they named Obed — a man God included in the lineage of His own Son — Jesus.
When we dance to the rhythm of daily faithfulness, God can turn our situational prisons into supernatural positions.
After much resistance, God convinced me His plan for me included bed rest. Friends and family moved through like a revolving door to assist with my daily duties. My kids spent time every day playing in our room, and we even held a weekly women’s Bible study in the living room once my doctor cleared me to rest on the couch.
During those days, I learned a lot about myself, my shortcomings and God’s fullness.
After five months of bed rest, God resolved my condition and the pregnancy went on like normal. In the spring, I birthed our feisty fifth child — who still holds the title as our biggest baby at birth. And today, his smile reminds me God never wastes a challenge.
Dear God, sometimes I wish life weren’t so full of trials. But I know it’s the trials that draw me nearer to You. Help me be faithful today, no matter what I face. And as I live in the rhythm of daily faithfulness, do for me what only You can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:12, “A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (HCSB)
Isaiah 30:15, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” (NIV)
What do you say when you talk to yourself? In her new book, Me, Myself, and Lies, Jennifer Rothschild teaches us what it means to speak truth to our souls and combat the negative thoughts that keep us from God’s purpose. Get the book now, and join us for our Me, Myself, and Lies Online Bible Study — starting today!
Stop by Katy McCown’s blog for more encouragement, and enter to win free access to her new online retreat, “Your Life: Simplified!”
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one circumstance in your life that’s causing you to feel trapped?
Talk to God about it today and ask Him to open your eyes to see Him at work in the midst of your circumstances.
© 2017 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.Proverbs 31 Ministries