Embracing Hardship, Growing in Love

“On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite”….(Ruth 4:5).

When life gets hard, it’s easy to wish we could go back and undo the decision that brought us to that point. Sometimes things happen due to no fault of our own and other times they do. The question should not be, “how could we have done this,” but instead, “what do we do from here?” It is easy to live in the past and allow the devil to whisper shame into our hearts. It’s also easy to get so bogged down by pain that we cannot see a brighter future. We live for the high-life and so when life gets a little low we start to believe that our decisions were bad ones when that might not be the case at all.
 
You see, as Boaz stood before the elders in Bethlehem there was a man before him who could redeem Ruth and marry her. When this man hears of the land he will inherit, he says, “I will redeem it!” However, he quickly changes his mind when he finds out that with the land he also has to redeem a Moabite woman named Ruth. He quickly says he cannot redeem it.
 
We are much like this man, wanting only the good, but fearing what could happen if we step out in faith. It is good of God that He does not show us the future, for if He did, there are many decisions in life we would not make to avoid painful circumstances. However, we must understand that God often gives us gifts of redemption wrapped in difficulty. We’d rather just have the blessings and not the hardship. However, the hardship often the tool God uses to shape us into His kind of person.
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In Israel, the land is the place of blessing, so for this man to redeem a piece of land would have been easy, but loving a person, that would take a whole different kind of investment. It would come with challenges and potential heartache. It would require a great sacrifice and possible reshaping of the heart and die to self.
 
In life, many of us want a fiance, but struggle to love a spouse. Why? Because it requires a whole new level of dying to self. It takes our faith to a place of deeper trust in God that we didn’t quite understand when we said, “I do.” The same goes for many other things we enter into. We go into our situations with rose-colored glasses, believing this next job will be the very best thing. However, our jobs are never perfect so when they become challenging we start to believe that maybe God didn’t want us there.
 
The true condition of the human heart is that it struggles to find contentment because it is not at peace with its maker. It is easy to grow discontent and allow our situations to make us angry and bitter. However, God is always working to reshape our hearts and grow them towards His vision. I am learning, sometimes slowly, that my joy is not dependant on my circumstances, job or the people in my life. My joy is 100% dependent upon the Lord Jesus. It’s His life that gives me victory when life feels unfair and it’s His joy I can press into when I start to become discouraged by the challenges of life.
 
There are times when I start to feel overwhelmed with negativity. This is when I recognize that the devil is starting to feel threatened by something in my life. This is a time in my life when I can smile knowing that my God gives me victory to walk with freedom towards my redemption in Jesus Christ. Truly, He is a loving Savior who sees me, knows me and walks with me through every season of life.
 
Jesus, you love me. That is enough. Sometimes I get bogged down by negativity. I allow the enemy to sing a song of discouragement into my heart. Jesus, I need you in every season. Shower your love upon me. I want a heart like yours, Amen.

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