Today’s Reading: The Book of Ruth
Wow, do we need a breath of fresh air or what? It is time to open up a window and let the Spring air flood into our rooms. The last few weeks of reading through Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges have been rough; especially the last couple days in Judges. Did you ever realize how brutal and bloody societies were back then? Then again, maybe our society is just as depressing depraved.
Thankfully, today we have a lovely story to read. Today we read of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz. We will even read of a woman who lends her name (albeit misspelled) to the richest female entertainer in America. Today we will read of the great-grandmother of King David and thus an ancestor of Jesus. Today we read one of only two books in the Bible named for a woman (the other is Ester). It is wonderfully written and tells the story of a widow and her mother in law. A truly uplifting story of love and redemption. It is also a story close to my heart.
I am not going to repeat the story – I want you to take the time to read it, it is worth the time (isn’t all of our reading worth the time?). But I am going to tell you why it is a story close to my heart.
In 1989 I was in my 3rd year of ministry with Youth For Christ. I had settled into my ministry routine and seeing results. I was enjoying my work immensely. During that year I kept a prayer journal. I was studying to improve my Spanish due to all the Hispanic youth I was working with. I wrote my prayers in Spanish each morning as a means to practice my Spanish and I wrote my prayers down to see how God was working through my them.
In the Spring of 1989 I began to pray for a wife. In my eyes it was time to move on to the next phase of my life. The time of being an uncommitted bachelor should have been coming to an end. So, on a regular basis I wrote simple prayers like:
Senor, gracias por la esposa que me vas a dar. Lord, thank you for the wife you are going to give me.
Senor, te pido que me ayudas encontrar una esposa. Lord, I ask you to help me find a wife.
Senor, te pido que me darías una esposa cristiana, una esposa que te quiere. Lord, I ask that you give me a Christian wife, a wife that loves you.
I still have that prayer journal, though it is in a box in storage back in America. Twenty one years later I can tell you how God answered those prayers. He answered them very quickly.
In 1989 I met Elizabeth, she is the guilty party that eventually introduced me to my wife (her cousin). She was a conversational Spanish teacher at an intensive language school I attended in the summer of 1989. We became friends and she gave me the address of my wife in Guatemala. She shared of how she knew we were right for each other.
On December 26, 1989 I sent my first pen pal letter to my wife. 15 letters and six months later she came to Chicago to visit. Eight days after she landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport we were engaged and 6 weeks later we were married. When God wants to, He can answer prayers clearly and quickly! I tried to document our story last year during our 20th anniversary. You can read the posts here Pv. 18:22
At two of our three weddings (another story for another day) my wife Lisy included verses from Ruth in her vows.
Ruth 1:16 – 17 (NLT)
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
Here is a picture of Lisy, and me on our first wedding day in the summer of 1990. Lisy’s brother Nery came to represent her family and to ‘give’ her away to me.
While the verse is not referring to a husband and a wife this was a special way for Lisy to say that she was going to be my wife. She left her home in Guatemala and she came to live with me. She left her family in Guatemala to start a family with me. She came with me to worship Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
Our letters were jetting back and forth this very week 21 years ago (for the younger reader, it was in a time long, long ago, a time before e-mail, chat, Facebook and Skype).
For twenty-one years she has gone where I have gone, from Bloomington, to Forest Park, to Oak Park and now to Eindhoven, Netherlands. My people are her people, as she loves all those around her. My God has become her God. My Savior is her Savior. When either of us die, the other will be buried next to them. When we get to heaven we will be together
Wasn’t it nice to read Ruth today?
PS: If the Spanish is bad, it is because I want it to be as accurate as my writings 20 years ago
PPS: Special shout out to the reverend and friend that married my lovely wife and I, Greg is a faithful blog reader.
PPPS: Second shout out to Elizabeth who made the love connection for us. She is a also a subscriber to this blog.