We rarely complete major transitions with one giant step
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” (Ruth 3:1–5)
Ruth took the step she knew to take—a step of survival to glean in the field among the poor. Naomi saw the next step forward when she realized that, according to their culture, Boaz would be an acceptable relative to take Ruth as a wife. She instructed Ruth on the appropriate method to propose marriage to Boaz.1 Things looked more hopeful than they had in a long time!
Before we sing, “Here Comes the Bride,” realize that this was not the final step bringing Ruth and Boaz to the altar. Another man had first rights to marry Ruth and acquire her father-in-law’s land. Isn’t that the way life often goes? We take one step, then another, but there is no guarantee things will work out for good. Each step is a step of faith. We rarely complete major transitions with one giant step. Nor must we take unlimited baby steps to get where we need to be. Hope arrives when we recognize the Lord can order our steps as we look to him for help.
The words of Taya Kyle, wife of murdered Navy Seal Chris Kyle, make this principle personal. This is from a letter she wrote for the “Note to Self” series on CBS This Morning:
Dear Taya, There’s so much I could tell you that you’re going to experience—joy beyond your wildest dreams, and a grief so terrible you’ll be sure it will break you. I wish I could keep you from the pain, but life isn’t like that.
When you’re in your early twenties, you will meet a man who will change your life. His name is Chris Kyle … The two of you will fall madly in love and decide to spend the rest of your lives together.
Chris is a Navy SEAL. He believes in God, Country, and Family, just like you do. He’ll serve four tours in Iraq. Then, finally, he’ll come home. Things will seem … perfect. Until one day, one horrible, terrible, very long day, the very worst will happen when you least expect it.
It’s not going to be easy. In the end you’ll reach deep inside yourself to find the strength to carry through. Try and remember these things as you go on your journey: You like to be independent but you will need to learn to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak.
Sometimes you will think you can’t take it another day. But if you hang in there, one step at a time, you will be able to accomplish more than you ever imagine.2
Ruth and Naomi had no idea how their story would end, yet they kept taking steps forward. What keeps you moving forward when it would be easier to quit? What does it mean to you to take steps of faith?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, sometimes taking the next step feels risky. You alone know what it brings. Let my steps today be ordered by you. Amen.
1 Frederic Bush, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 9: Ruth-Esther (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996), 154–155.
2 Taya Kyle, “Note to Self,” CBS News, May 22, 2015, www.cbsnews.com/news/note-to-self-taya-kyle-widow-of-navy-seal-chris-kyle/ (accessed August 23, 2015).