Monday, February 15, 2016

2 Secrets That Transform Loss

Dear Reader,
Today we pick back up on our 10 Reasons Why Ruth is for Widows. Don't forget to take advantage of my annual book sale today, tomorrow is the last day!

7. The Book of Ruth shows

two secrets for transforming

finding favor &
exercising gratitude.
The idea for "Finding favor" 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.

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 just about bursted with exclamations of praise and gratitude! Read Ruth 2:19-200. Can you hear her excitement? 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 about 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?
But 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 to find one-blessing-a-day with me, won't you? Some days you might not see one, but on other days you'll find many. Finding favor and then being thankful and praising God for His work in your personal life are the "secrets" that can change everything!


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