Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two Needs of Every Widow (chapter 5)

AUTHOR NOTES
Read Ruth 1:8-9

"...Imagine a godly older woman putting a hand on your shoulder and uttering Ruth 1:8-9 over you:
May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!
Aren’t those two things—kindness and rest—what our widows’ hearts most desire? We cannot magically summon or willfully acquire either one of these gifts. God’s kindness births our survival and vigor. He alone provides the rest for which our souls yearn. Naomi petitioned God for the good things she herself most desired. Her simple prayer cupped the essential needs of widows: kindness and rest.

Could you use some kindness today? Death never arrives easily or at the right time. In the initial chaos of loss, widows can be overwhelmed with an avalanche of chores, important decisions, lifetime events....

Naomi’s second request is also crucial for widows. For most people in our hyperactive society, there is no room for rest on the ever-growing to-do list. There aren’t enough hours in the day for rest. In fact, even though rest is mandatory for all human beings, our very culture views it as counterproductive, a waste of time. Grief is exhausting, and we must have rest. We must be able to sit, collect ourselves, and be still now and then.

The Hebrew root of the phrase "find rest" in Naomi’s prayer meant "to settle down after movement or wandering." It painted a picture of the end of a hard journey, a homecoming after war. Rest settles questions and soul hunger; it means satisfaction and contentment—a place to belong... "

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
(chapter 5 of Postcards, and Ruth 1:8,9)

How could using Naomi's prayer benefit widows today? What do you suppose might have happened to Ruth and Orpah if Naomi had not prayed for this blessing? Is anything keeping you from asking God for some kindness and rest today?

PRAYER

Dear Lord,
I need to ask for myself the same thing that Naomi asked for Orpah and Ruth. Show kindness to me as I have shown to others and grant that I will find rest, a place to belong.
Amen

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