When The Going Gets Tough
I start a new job tomorrow. Like a new job, one I’ve never done before, which is pretty nerve-wracking. It’s not in retail, for once in my life. It’s at a school. I will be working with kids and aiding teachers as a paraeducator. Sounds pretty grown up, right? Yeah, I have to keep reminding myself I’m an adult.
I’ve felt a lot like Ruth these past few weeks. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Lineage of Grace by Francene Rivers, and if not then I highly recommend it. It’s the story of five women in the lineage of Jesus – Tamar, Rehab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. It puts personality and a life story to historical characters that I never thought much about, in this case Ruth. Francene Rivers highlights how difficult the journey must have been for Ruth from Moab to Bethlehem. She was leaving her husband’s grave, her home, her comfort, all she knew. She was leaving behind the routine of daily life, the language she’d grown up hearing, the only customs she’d ever known. Ruth was taking on a new culture, a new God, a new landscape. Plus, she didn’t have a husband to provide for her. She had no money, no job, and no prospects. Not only that, the Moabites was headed to a place that despised foreigners! She was diving head-first into the
That’s what I’ve felt like. I’ve left my home, my parents, most of my friends. I’ve left the peace and laid-back customs of country living. I’m in a new, unknown city where traffic is heard from 4:00 am to midnight outside my window. I have a single friend, no job up till now, no community, and no money to get me places I might meet new people. I’m neck deep in the uncomfortable, and it’s been hard, you guys. I won’t lie to you.
I’ve had a lot of doubts. What if I made the wrong choice moving here? What if I made a rash decision, I didn’t consult God and now I’m paying for it? It looked like an open door, but now I’m not so sure.
I wonder if Ruth ever thought the same thing. I wonder if she ever cursed the day she vowed to follow Naomi wherever she went. Did she ever want to turn back and return to the familiarity of Moab? Did she ever ask God if she’d made the right choice? How often? Yet, the story of Ruth gives me hope. We may read her story and think she was destitute, but she never actually was. She had the God of the universe looking out for her. She was faithful, she worked hard, and God provided for her. She had integrity (*cough cough* Monday’s blog) and people began to see her by her excellent reputation rather than her foreign garb. She brought home food for herself and Naomi, and right at the time when there wouldn’t be a chance for her to glean any more grain, God gave her a husband to take care of her. He was never too late in providing, He was always right on time.
God hasn’t left me. He’s given me a friend who cares for me and wants to see me thrive here. He’s provided a family who opened up their home and allowed me to live with them. He has landed me a job that will bring in income soon, and He’s opened up an opportunity where I can volunteer at a youth group! I have a ministry (I can’t get over saying that!) where I’m able to reach out to young girls and speak into their doubts and use mine as relatability. There are events coming up where I am able to use the gifts and passions He’s given me for public speaking, and I am stoked about them! Right when I think God is going to be too late, He turns out to be right on time.
Here’s what I’m learning. If we look at our circumstances, it’s so incredibly easy for the devil to fill us with doubts and tear us down. He jumps at the opportunity to take away our satisfaction in Christ so he can lead us astray. Look instead to our God. He is bigger than your problems. He is fighting your battles and providing a way for you. He is already on the other side of the tunnel, shining a light to lead you through. He promises to never leave your side, and you can trust in that. There are so many encouraging stories in the Bible where God provided for those who were faithful and trusted in Him. If you don’t relate to Ruth, check out Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Hezekiah, Esther, Daniel, or any of the other many people in our history who God provided for. Read these narratives and be encouraged. God didn’t leave them, and He hasn’t left you.
When you think your circumstances are going to get the best of you, stop looking around and look up. God’s got it in the bag.