Waiting - Ruth 3:12-18

Now, yes, it is true that I am a guardian, but there is another guardian who is a closer relative than I am. Remain here tonight. Then in the morning, if he agrees to marry you, fine, let him do so. But if he does not want to do so, I promise, as surely as the Lord lives, to marry you. Sleep here until morniing." So she slept beside him until morning. She woke up while it was still dark. Boaz thought, "No one must know that a woman visited the threshing floor." Then he said, "Hold out the shawl you are wearing and grip it tightly." As she held it tightly, he measured out about sixty pounds of barley into the shawl and put it on her shoulders. Then he went into town, and she returned to her mother-in-law. When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, "How did things turn out for you, my daughter?" Ruth told her about all the man had done for her. She said, "He gave me these sixgty pounds of barley, for he said to me, 'Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed." Then Naomi said, "Stay put, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out. For the man will not rest until he has taken care of the matter today." Ruth 3:12-18

Several years ago I was at a point where I knew God was leading me volunteer for something new in our church. However, for quite some time, I didn't know what it was. I could feel God working in me and providing me with a willing heart, but I just couldn't figure out where He wanted me to be.

After several months of seeking, I received a letter in the mail one day from the Children's Sunday School Director at our church. The letter had actually gone out to many people in our church, but as I began to read I felt like it had been mailed only to me. Our children's Sunday School department was in dire need of Sunday School teachers. I had, actually, known for awhile that they were in need of teachers, but did not know how strong the need really was and had never even considered teaching. That is, until the moment I read that letter. It as like God was speaking the words of that letter directly to me.

The following day I called Chris, our wonderful Children's Sunday School director. She was not in her office at the church that day. At the time I thought nothing of it as I knew she was not there but a couple of days during the week and just figured I had called on one of the days she was not there. I left a message on her voicemail assuming I would hear back from her soon.

However, after about a week and a half I had heard nothing. At first I thought this was rather odd as I knew Chris to be the type of person that would always follow up on phone messages. Especially when there was such a need for teachers. Then, I began to worry that maybe I had heard God wrong. Maybe teaching wasn't where He wanted me. Maybe I had mis-heard. Maybe I still had no idea of the direction in which God was leading. Then, Satan really began to cause me to doubt by placing thoughts in my head such as, "Maybe Chris doesn't want you to be a teacher. Maybe she doesn't think you are good enough."

While the situations are completely different, I would imagine that Ruth felt a bit like I did when Boaz told her that there was someone else that was a closer relative. Someone else to be asked to marry Ruth. Can you even imagine? Ruth took a big step to go to Boaz and ask him to marry her. I would guess she felt like she was WAY out of her comfort zone. But, because of her faith and because of her love for Noami, she steps out and goes to Boaz.

Then, once she does so, she finds out that while Boaz is willing they must first check with someone else. They need to ask another relative if he would be willing to marry her. Someone she doesn't know. Someone she has never met. And, she must wait for the answer. She must sleep thru the night and then go back home to Naomi the next day and just wait.

Do you think that maybe Ruth questioned whether she had heard God correctly? Maybe Boaz wasn't the one as she and Naomi had thought? Would God really have her marry someone she did not know? Would God really direct her to Boaz only to then lead her to someone completely different? Maybe Boaz didn't want to marry her and was trying to get "off the hook"?

When Ruth goes back to Naomi and shares the story with her, Noami tells her to "stay put". She probably didn't say these words meaning, "Don't leave the house" or "Don't do anything". Her meaning was probably more along the lines of "Don't waver", "Trust God", "Remain steady until God shows the answer".

That is where I struggle so much. As I shared above, I let the doubts and the insecurities set in and take control over my thoughts. But, when I calm down and "stay put" it always works out. In the particular story I began sharing above, that is exactly how it played out. On the way to church almost 2 weeks later, I was sharing with my husband some of my feelings. He strongly encouraged me to just check with Chris that morning. And, why I didn't think of that before is beyond me. I certainly could have picked up the phone anytime during those two weeks and checked with her. And, I saw her every Sunday morning as she was always out and about in the hallways of the children's Sunday School classrooms. I always passed her and talked as we were dropping our children off each week.

So, on that morning when I saw her I just asked if she had gotten the message I had left for her several weeks before. She said she had not. And, then when I explained why I had called she expressed such excitement. (Yea... I really need to quit allowing Satan to work with my insecurities!)

I have now been teaching in a children's Sunday School class for almost two years and absolutely love it. Each child is so very special and I have the opportunity to assist in laying down their foundation in the Lord. And, best of all? I have absolutely no doubts that this is where the Lord wanted me all along!

As we later discovered, Chris' office phone had been working poorly for quite some time and sometime prior to me leaving that message had stopped notifying her when she had a message. Something so simple as a malfunctioning phone led me down the road of doubt and insecurity. God's power and love is so strong, but I almost let that bad phone keep me from doing what I knew was God's will for my life.

I am learning (slowly, but I am learning) that when I am patient and wait for God that He always shows up. He and I don't always work on the same time schedule and I must always remember and commit to working within His timeframe and not mine. Will you join me in praying for God to help us always wait and always trust Him?

7 Thoughts Shared:

Beth in NC said...

Hi Melanie,

I'm so happy this worked out for you. I'm sure you are such a blessing to those children! Isn't it amazing how our doubts, insecurities, fears can really mess with our minds? Live and learn as we walk through this journey.

And no, I can't imagine how Ruth must have felt. Did you even think about her having to carry 60 pounds of food? Now that, I can't imagine.

Thank you for sharing your heart.


Omah's Helping Hands said...

I am joining you in prayer Melanie. I too so need to learn to be patient and wait, as it is all by His timing which is always perfect. Glad to hear it all worked out for you.
As for Ruth, I have a feeling that her trust in Naomi and her faith in God kept her from doubting. She seemed like a very strong woman. But then it is hard for us to know that fact for sure. Great post! Thanks for sharing. Very strong message.

LisaShaw said...

Praise the Lord! Indeed I will pray with you. God is using your life in a beautiful way.

Sab said...

I loved that post. It is so true. I feel so insecure about things at times and then find out that really, it wasn't what I thought it was, or the problem wasn't me or anyone, or that person really didn't have a problem with me. Satan sure does know how to get to us sometimes!

Joan said...

Great post. Why do we let doubt creep in? I'm so glad that you didn't give up on it.

Tricia said...

What a great post Melanie! I have missed visiting here, hopefully now I can get back to my normal routine, whatever that really is.

I am so glad that God was preparing you to teach those precious children, and so glad that you did not miss the opportunity just because of a phone problem. I pray that God would use you mightily to spark each child's heart for God and to teach them of His mighty and marvelous love for them!


Simple Midwest Mom said...

Beautifully put and thank you for being so transparent! I too allow Satan to whisper those same words to me. I felt the Lrod calling me to organize our church's first ever retreat. We're such a large church (for our area that is) that no one ever took it on. I still have moments of feeling inadequate and quesyioning if I heard God correctly. I also have been battling fear of men and trying to please everyone so much that a friend mentioned the theme of 1 Peter 2 (I think) it is where it speaks about putting our hope in the Lord and Lord alone.