Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2 Keys for Transforming Loss

With reason #7 today in our series about why Ruth is for widows, I could write two more books!

The Book of Ruth shows
 
two keys for transforming loss:
 
finding favor and exercising gratitude.
 
But instead of more books let's take some quick thoughts on each of these keys.
FINDING FAVOR
Here's what I mean by "finding favor" and it comes from Ruth 2:2 (NIV)--
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Like Ruth, a widow needs to be willing to work and earn respect as a good worker, but she should pray that she may work for someone with a favorable and positive attitude about her. I don't mean that they'll discriminate in her favor. Employers must provide a good and fair work atmosphere for everyone and not show favoritism. But on the other hand, they should not greedily take advantage of a widow's plight, and they should value her experience and wisdom.
Realize that many people will sympathize with a widow but they remain afraid of her. Afraid of her grief, her femininity, her circumstances. I know many widows who've felt that. So just as Ruth asked Naomi to grant her authority to seek employment and favor, so too should widows ask the Lord to find favorable work. It might be full-time, part-time, volunteer, or with a temp agency, but where ever a widow seeks to contribute her time, finding favor can be the key sign of what the Lord has opened up for her.  

EXERCISING GRATITUDE
Many books have already been written about gratitude and the key it plays in helping us through grief and life in general. But did you know we also see it in the Book of Ruth? It's rather amazing that the wisdom of gratitude is over 3000 years old!
When Ruth came home from her first day on the job and showed Naomi all the "favor" Boaz granted her, Naomi's burst with exclamations of praise and gratitude. (Ruth 2:19-20) Verse 19 states
Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
These words are opposite the cries of despair and God's mistreatment that Naomi vented in Ruth 1:20-22. And what's amazing to me is that they are the turning point in this book! Instead of bitterness, Naomi is blessing!
She didn't have to do that. Instead, she could have leaned into her grief and turned her face to the wall when Ruth got home that evening. She could have compared Ruth's work to what her late husband would have brought home. She could have regretted it was Ruth coming through that door instead of her husband. Do you see what I mean?
Naomi opened her eyes to see the answer to prayer. She saw grace and favor and she was thankful. Do you remember the blessing jar I've encouraged you to fill this year? I've been lax in recognizing my blessings so far. If you have too, why not join me in determining to be more like the Naomi we read about today? Let's trade our bitterness for blessing, OK?
Although we must be realistic about our losses and we've got to work through them, every time we catch a regret or comparison we can also catch something good that's happened too. Watch for it, jot it down, and put it in your jar. Try for one a day with me. Some days you might not see one, but on other days you'll find many. Being thankful and praising God for His work in your personal life can change everything!  ferree

(Wondering about how to make a blessing jar? Just type "blessing jar" in the Search for Keywords on This Blog box at the right side of this post and see the Dec. 16, 2014 post. As always, if this post arrives in your email inbox simply click on the title line at the top of this page to get to the WCP blog itself so you can view it. Thanks!)

2 comments:

  1. Ferree - I have always enjoyed your writing and found great inspiration with it, but your blogs on the Book or Ruth have touched me very deeply. Thank you. Appreciate you.
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Linda, Thank you for letting me know how these posts are affecting you---the book of Ruth impacted my life as a widow profoundly so it's extremely special to know that you're finding the same. It's got to be the power and sufficiency of God's Word! I'm forever grateful that it reached me and gets passed along to you. <3

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