Today I want to share with you a small portion of what I have been learning. we are going to jump in in the middle, so just hang in there with me.
Ruth 3: 1-6
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barely tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garments and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you should notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what to do." And she said to her, "All that you say to me I will do." So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.
There is a lot here that can be dissected, but we are going to focus on one part, "put on your best garments".
Wow! Ruth was very brave to follow as her mother-in-law told her, given all that she has been through. She has lost her husband and is putting herself out there now. How vulnerable!
It is not very clear as to what "best garments" is referring to. There are many different opinions from many different scholars. We can draw from this is that Ruth is dressed for a new day.
Scholar Daniel I. Block has some interesting insight about her garments: "It appears that Naomi is hereby advising Ruth to end her period of mourning over her widowhood and get on with a normal life. ...It may well be that until this time Ruth had always wore the garments of widowhood, even when she was working out in the field. Perhaps this was the reason for Boaz's inertia. As an upright man, he would not violate a woman's right to grieve the loss of her husband nor impose himself upon her until she was ready. We know to little about how long widows would customarily wear their mourning clothes, but it may be that Naomi is now telling Ruth the time has come to doff her 'garments of widowhood."
We cant be certain of what Ruth had on, but we know it signaled a change, a readiness, an availability to Boaz and to God for the possibility of something new.
Although not all of us have experienced a time of widowhood, we have known a time when God asked us to remove our clothes of mourning, clinging, grasping, wishing, hoping, striving, even praying for something... and move forward.
I feel like God is asking this of me. I want to go back to the days before Julie had Cancer. Back to when we were living together in Honduras, when we were establishing our home, when we were preparing to take in children, when things were our crazy normal. I have been clinging to the past and wanting that for the future. That is not going to happen. Things are never going to go back to the way they were before the cancer, and God is making me ok with that. But first I need to remove my "mourning clothes" and look forward to what God is laying before me.
Don't miss understand me, I know that all things are possible through God, but I am wanting God to turn back the clocks and take me back to live in those times. And to not only turn back time but to rewrite the future and make it to where Julie never gets cancer. That is not going to happen. I need to come to to terms with that. When we are wrapped in garments of mourning we are unavailable for whatever else God has for us.
Times come and go. I am glad I enjoined them and I will always have those precious memories. It is time for me to move on from that and focus on what God is doing now. We will be going back to Honduras it just wont be with Ben and Julie and that will be alright.
Isaiah 43: 18-19 says
" Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
There is something about where are minds choose to dwell that can keep us in an old place even when God is doing a new thing. Isaiah 52:1 says "Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city." Jesus is calling us to the same awaking he did for the Israelites. Do not dwell on the past. We all have our Moab stories, our past losses, aches, and strains; but let us not cling to our old clothes in a new life.
Is God telling you you to throw off some weighty garments? Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, discontentment, jealousy, mourning, or anything else that might keep you from moving forward with God?
Take off the old, put on the new; take the risk of being available.