June 26, 2014
“and so Naomi was back, and Ruth the foreigner with her, back from the country of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22 The Message
Naomi came “back” bitter .. with no future hope .. except maybe dying sooner. The pain was that deep. A husband died .. her sons died .. estranged from hope and promise .. and only a “foreigner” daughter-in-law who refused to let go of her heart and her life. Naomi didn’t know it .. couldn’t see it .. was numb from feeling it .. BUT GOD was drawing her heart back to life .. back to himself .. back into a life of promise .. hope .. and love. The gospel “re-maps” our whole life and whole lives around the person of Jesus. The Holy Spirit goes room-by-room through our hearts and life experiences shaping .. removing .. healing .. delivering .. changing .. and renewing us in the inexhaustible generosity of Christ. And for all that to happen “we” .. “you” have to come back .. to turn back from all your well-intentioned .. good motives .. self-driven efforts to save yourself .. or others. Sometimes you are a Ruth .. holding on to another life with only the love of Christ .. not because you can save .. bur because the love of Christ compels you. In some situations you may be the foreigner .. unwanted .. unwelcome .. even unnoticed .. but you hold on because the power of the gospel is the only reality worth holding onto when everything else is crumbling. So you come back .. you turn back .. you come back with all the messy .. scattered .. disorganized pieces of your life. And want do you find? You discover a nail-scarred resurrected colored Lord with the patience and dying love to put you back together. Maybe it is you who comes back … Maybe it is you helping someone you love come back … But it begins with you coming back .. turning back to the One who always invites you to “Come back to Me”. It only takes a moment …
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me — the very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.” Isaiah 30:15 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to You following Jesus (firstname.lastname@example.org) thanks to Seve Byrd for sharing his friend Paul Miller’s journey through Ruth.