Waiting as Obedience
Open Your Bible
Ruth 3:14-18, Proverbs 31:10-11, Matthew 22:23-33
Text: Ruth 3:14-18, Proverbs 31:10-11, Matthew 22:23-33
Have there been times in your life when you’ve felt a strong call by the Lord to pursue something? I have. I often start strong, feeling bold and excited, my heart ready and willing to obey. I can’t help but think, This is it! This is the moment life changes because I said yes!
Then, inevitably, a bend or a bump in the smooth, straight road I envisioned leaves me doubting. But wait. I said yes. I was obedient. So why is this still so hard?
Ruth has said all the right yeses in her story. She has been faithful to her mother-in-law Naomi in many ways, but especially so where Boaz is concerned. Ruth has truly put herself out there in trust, and it seems everything has been leading up to this moment.
What a surprise it must have been to be told simply to wait—and not for a certain amount of time, but indefinitely. (Indefinite waiting is the worst kind of waiting, if you ask me.) Ruth was instructed to wait until Boaz found the nearer kin, or redeemer, and ask if that man would marry Ruth, per the custom of their culture (Ruth 3:12-13). And who knew how long that would take or what would happen?
We aren’t told if this frustrated Ruth, but it frustrates me for her. This is the point where I’d likely throw in the towel, caught up in a thought spiral that goes something like this: Well, it’s all over now. I’ll be married to some man I’ve never met, these past few months will have been a total waste, and all I’ll have to show for it is a sore back and some barley. Perfect.
But Naomi—the same woman who once named herself “Bitter”—offered enough faith for the both of them. She encouraged Ruth, saying, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out” (Ruth 3:18).
Wait, and then wait again. Isn’t this the way of life? Nowhere are we promised an easy time just because we obey or come to what we believe is a capital-A Answer. But our Father waits too—both with us and for us. His Word says that He longs to be gracious toward us and show us compassion and mercy (Isaiah 30:18). “His steadfast love endures forever,” through all things, all the time, just like the psalm says (Psalm 118).
This doesn’t mean that things will turn out exactly the way we think they should. But it does mean that God’s hand is always at work in our story, even when we can’t see it. Even when we’re waiting. God’s plan would have still gone ahead of Ruth, even if Boaz came back to say he couldn’t marry her. She would still have been God’s daughter, and His covenant promise to her would still have been true.
In your waiting place, cling to the hope that God will not leave our stories unfinished or unredeemed. They may not look how we expected but, as with Ruth and Naomi, our story is His story. We can wait with hope, and we can trust and obey with confidence. Thanks be to God.