When I was a little girl, one of my earlier memories was sitting in church for what seemed hours. The pews were hard, we didn’t get the escape of kids church or Sunday school. We simply had to endure the heat the smells of of lots of Africans in a hot the mud brick church we called home. It was the 1970s and my parents were missionaries in the Congo, on a missions station called Kipushya. I remember not really understanding the language but we were not allowed to take toys or books so my mum would let me borrow her bible so I could read a ‘story’. I never really tried to learn the language, so to keep me from getting in too much trouble for being restless and bored, I would flick to the stories. The books of Esther and Ruth were two to my favourites. When I had exhausted them I would flick through the photos and perfume sample sheets my mum kept hidden between the thin bible paper. My Dad’s Bible was even more impressive. I still remember the leather bound cover with it’s zip keeping the contents intact and protected but also the many notes and photos he kept of family and friends back home in Australia.
This was my introduction to the book of Ruth….a story for a little girl to pass the time. Maturity has taught me that these stories I love to read are beautiful as stories but if that was all they were they would not be in my Bible. They are in there because they were so much richer and more meaningful than a fairy tale story as I would have read them back then. These stories in the Bible carry incredible truth and there are layers to be discovered in this small book.
Over the coming weeks my journey through Ruth is simply going to be an open hearted adventure to discover what God wants me to know about this girl and her story and for her story to interact with mine in some way that will challenge and stir faith and help me grow in my walk with God…or maybe it will be Naomi or Boaz or even Elimilech who will tell me something that I need to hear.
The joy of a book like this, is that it is easy to read:Four chapters and I am done. So I began this morning with a plan to read the whole book, as I have been doing for several days now, but this morning I found myself back in the book of judges instead. Why…go read chapter 1 vs 1 and you’ll know why…