Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Letting Go -- God's Unfolding Grace
I'm reading Ruth chapter two--a Book found in the Old Testament of the Bible. But I don't get far and I know why. When Ruth asks Naomi to allow her to go into the fields of Bethlehem and glean grain it's hard for Naomi to let go. But listen to her words. "Go my daughter."
I read Naomi's words aloud and tremble. I know what it's like when fear reigns and everything in you wants to hold tight to the ones you love. With her lips Naomi says, "Go, my daughter, go," . . . But what about her heart? My imagination takes over. Go, my daughter, go . . . . into the fields where the hot sun will scorch your shoulders? Where backbreaking labor will tax your strength as you stoop, again, and again, and again as you gather the occasional stalk of ripened wheat and thrust it into your mantle.
Ruth, the young Moabite widow, steps out of the house and onto the road as Naomi watches, silently holding back her tears. Oh, Ruth, my daughter, I would go with you, but this is something you must do alone. I am too old, too tired and the reapers are young. You, my daughter, an undefended foreigner will certainly be a target for abuse and I-
Naomi smiles and lifts her hand. Go my daughter, go, and may the LORD be with you . . .
But for me it was, "Go my son, go." The summer following the death of our oldest son, quite unexpectedly our sewer suddenly backed up and backed up and backed up some more. We had no recourse, but to put in a new drain field.
It was a huge undertaking. My husband rented a back hoe and our youngest son drove it into the backyard. In spite of his height, he looked small and inexperienced sitting atop the giant machine teetering precariously on the uneven terrain. His hands fumbled with the gears and fear shot through me.
My wound was fresh, it was gnawing a hole at my insides. Oh, God, I can't bear to lose another son. I can't -- I bowed my head. Lord, I can't watch.
My Lord spoke deep within my heart. It's okay my daughter. Let go. I'll watch your son for you.
I lifted my face, smiled and raised my hand to our son in an A-okay. The triumphant smile which spread across his face warmed my heart. His hand lifted high as he returned my signal.
The back hoe moved forward, lurched. My son sat tall, his shoulders squared, head held high. I turned and went into the house. As I did, I understood a bit more of what it means to let go.
God's grace unfolded to me, just as it did for Naomi and Ruth as they entered the "safe place." Boaz spoke of it in Ruth 2:12 (NIV): " . . . may you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." Listening to the heart beat of the Lord Most High, Ruth and Naomi were safe and secure in the shadow of God's eagle wings.
As Naomi let go, God's grace unfolded. Together Naomi and Ruth entered the place of acceptance and trust, a place to heal and grow close to the heart of God. He is the refuge to whom we can go and find healing for our souls.