When we talk about the story of Ruth, especially as women, we often talk about the story of her “getting her Boaz!” We use it to reference how women need to wait on our Boaz and what God can do in terms of restoring things in the relationship area. I myself am guilty of saying things like “I can’t wait until I get my Boaz.”
I’d read Ruth’s story in the Bible dozens of times before but, as I was doing my devotional one day before work, God dropped a different meaning for it in my spirit. It was something so unexpected. I was originally studying Galatians 6:9. This particular scripture talks about us not getting tired of doing what is good so that, at just the right time, we can reap a harvest of blessing. The emphasis was on us receiving it if we don’t give up.
As I was letting this scripture minister to me, I thought to myself, Lord, I’m not tired of doing good. I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of delays. I’m tired of setbacks. I’m tired of expecting and it not coming. I’m just plain tired.
Then I heard the Lord whisper to me: Do not get tired of doing good when you are waiting. Do not get tired of doing good when there are delays. Do not get tired of doing good when the setbacks come.
Do not get tired of doing good when you are expecting and nothing comes. Do not get tired of doing good. Period.
The thing is we always ask God for “a word.” On the contrary, what about when you receive a word and you have yet to see it come to pass? I know the Bible promises us that He will never be late and in God’s “just right time” it will come, if we don’t faint. However, some days I feel like I am about two seconds away from fainting. Some days I feel like I have missed my harvest. Also, I sometimes feel like I am most definitely operating in a drought in some areas of my life. Then I am reminded of Ruth who left her land and her family and went into the unknown during the time of oppression and a drought.
Let’s talk about Ruth who had just lost her husband and traveled to a new place with her mother-in-law Naomi. The most amazing thing about Ruth is that somehow or another, even with Naomi’s bitter experiences with God, Ruth is still trusting Naomi’s God. When Naomi plans to return to her homeland she instructs her daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth, to go back with their own families. However, Ruth refused and insisted that she would go with Naomi. Ruth told Naomi, “Your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16) even after Naomi had just said that “the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me” (Ruth 1:13). Obviously, we can see through her words and actions that Ruth’s faith in God was one that saw beyond present bitter setbacks.
Regardless of her loss and her uncertainty with what God had in her future, Ruth didn't just do the bare minimum to get by once she and Naomi made it to Bethlehem. She hustled… like the hustle I referred to in my blog “Have a Heart of Hustle.” She hustled and worked hard, doing the work God called her to. Just as I mentioned in “Have a Heart of Hustle,” Ruth hustled, rested when needed, and finished the work that was before her, gathering 26 quarts of barley to support her family. Ruth showed up to work and God worked out a plan through her life that led to her marriage to Boaz and her place in the lineage of Jesus.
Then Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?” And the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi.
That is a godly hustle. Ruth wasn't motivated by popularity or recognition. Gathering grain wasn't fancy, famous, or impressive work… it was hard! It was also humbling. Ruth's work had meaning and purpose and ours does too, based on where God has called each of us. Most importantly, just as it happened with Ruth, the key between praying and receiving is to work with what He’s called us to and given us right now. (Matthew 25:23).
What if Ruth had gone out to seek work that would make her feel important instead of doing the work that would put her right where God wanted her? She may have missed the harvest entirely, as well as the blessings God wanted to give her that redeemed her family. Ruth is an example of Galatians 6:9. That blessing may not have come yesterday and it might not come today or tomorrow. However, it will come AT THE RIGHT TIME-- just like it did for Ruth -- when we are busy hustling the way God called us to, individually and collectively.
May Ruth be a hero to us in our times of struggle because the book of Ruth gives us a glimpse into the hidden work of God during the worst of times. When she lost her husband and left with her mother-in-law, I am sure she thought it was the end of her world and that her life could not be revived. In the Book of Ruth, God’s visible hand of miracles is never revealed but God’s invisible hand of provision is continually revealed in the lives of ordinary people and ordinary events-- like yours and mine. An angel never arrives, God never speaks, and a miracle never happens in the Book of Ruth. However, God is quietly, subtly, and certainly at work. This gives us hope that He is also at work in our lives, even if we don’t see it at first. So, until you see it manifest in the natural realm, learn from Ruth that God is right now at work preparing for everything to work out for your good. While He is at work, get your (godly) hustle on, trust Him, and wait properly.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.