The character of Ruth proves that unfair circumstances don’t need to disadvantage you on your healing journey.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise puts one foot in front of the other and does his best. He doesn’t complain about the unfairness of the race or compare himself to his competitor.
He is so unlikely to win against a hare yet his character and attitude win him the race.
The most unqualified becomes the winner.
Do you ever feel at a disadvantage due to your disability or health condition? Maybe you’re questioning God’s plan, especially if you’ve been ill for many years.
I believe we can develop a strength of character that will cause us to rise above circumstances and to endure the most unjust of situations.
Everything about Ruth’s situation screamed ‘failure…disqualified…no hope’. She was a widow, a foreigner and poor.
Ruth could have been angry, bitter and full of self-pity as she faced a lonely and miserable life but the character of Ruth was something that caused her to stand out, to be that flamingo in a flock of pigeons.
Perhaps like Ruth your situation is pretty hopeless. Have doctors told you you’re unable to have children? Do you think no-one will marry you because you’re living with an illness or a disability?
At the end of the story Ruth didn’t just marry anyone; she married the most eligible bachelor in the land and became part of the genealogy or Jesus. This was her double restoration.
Our magnificent God had paid her back double for all the heartache and trouble she had gone through.
Isn’t it a comfort to know our Father in heaven has your healing all in hand? He’s working behind the scenes to get you your breakthrough.
THE CHARACTER OF RUTH
1. SHE WAS SERVANTHEARTED
Ruth had a servant heart, gleaning in the fields and serving her mother in law. This took her eyes off herself and onto someone else.
When we have a purpose higher than ourselves it gives us another focus and a reason to keep going.
I know it might be the last thing you feel like doing, especially if you’re in pain. It doesn’t have to be anything major.
Could you welcome people to church on a Sunday or serve tea and coffee? It’s a form of sacrifice of praise.
Worshipping God isn’t just about singing in church, we worship by serving others as well.
Mental health is improved when we help other people. Even if your illness is physical, it’s unlikely you’ll receive a miracle in your physical health if your mental wellbeing is poor.
“Evidence shows that helping others can also benefit our own mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.” Mentalhealth.org.uk
If you’ve been living with illness for a long time, it’s easy to feel isolated, especially if you’re not well enough to work. Serving others counteracts this.
Connecting with others causes us to regulate our autonomic nervous system as it encourages part of the parasympathetic nervous system, the ventral vagal state, to come online.
This is where the healing is.
2. SHE EMBRACED CHANGE
Ruth didn’t look back at how wonderful her past was. She never looked back at how amazing life used to be when she was married. Often we separate our life into 2, especially when we’ve gone through a trauma.
Life before and after the illness. Ruth never once said ‘if only….’
In the first few years of illness, I would often fill my thoughts with remembering how easy life was before I was unwell. “If only I could have my old life back…if only I could work…if only I could tolerate the sun…if only I was well enough to…fill in the blank.
Do you ask yourself ‘if only’ type questions?
When we choose to disallow our reality, we continue in conflict. This has been the hardest step for me because my reality is far from ideal.
I was riddled with nerve damage pain, like acid spreading to multiple parts of my body and doctors couldn’t help.
My dreams of being married with a family were now gone. I couldn’t have a career, earn money or go on holidays. Worse still, I was surrounded by the life that wasn’t available to me.
This was torment but I had to accept my present reality if I was ever to move forward.
Being stuck in the past meant limiting myself from any future God had in store for me. Embracing the new life, with all it’s limitations was the only option. The only way is through.
Ruth displayed acceptance. This doesn’t mean believing that things will never change and that this is all there is in life, it just means accepting things as they are right now.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
3. SHE FOCUSED ON THE LIGHT
The strength of character of Ruth, she meant she caused her to to think healthy thoughts; we never hear her complain or focus on her pain and suffering.
You may be living with a painful illness but thinking about how bad it is will keep you in a place of discouragement and defeat.
Constantly thinking about your situation will keep you a victim and it won’t be long before you spiral down into self-pity.
Please remember though it’s ok to have a bad day! Be kind to yourself on these days, tomorrow is a new day.
Learning to be content, to live with my new reality took many years of adjusting. For me it wasn’t a case of not hurting any more, but more a case of focusing on the light shining through the darkness.
I wonder if this was how Ruth felt?
I began to learn what gave me pleasure; the smell of coconut, listening to thunder and lightning, the sound of a wind chime, bright colours…I think you get the drift.
Ruth never concerned herself with the situation in the natural. Her eyes were on God alone.
4. SHE BELIEVED IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD
Ruth believed God was a good and loving God. She didn’t stick with him out of duty. Knowing and receiving God’s love is the goal. He’s the prize. Our faith only works through his love.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Ruth trusted God, she had a revelation of his love. Praying for a deeper revelation of God’s love is the best thing you can ever pray for.
If the story of Ruth teaches us anything, it’s that God delights in turning our nightmare into something we never dreamed possible.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Boaz didn’t care that Ruth was ‘unqualified’. She was married before and was penniless but this didn’t bother him. He accepted her past and didn’t judge.
The people God has placed in your future will too. Do you worry no-one will marry you or even employ you because you’re living with a health condition?
God has all your worries in hand. He’s our perfect Father.
Picture your healing journey if you had the character of Ruth. How can you fail to be victorious?
God has a plan for your life and no sickness or plan of the enemy will hinder you in receiving your inheritance.
You may look and feel completely unqualified, but Jesus qualified you when he died for you so no matter how things appear in the natural, God is unlimited and is outside time, space and natural resources.
He hasn’t forgotten you. He loves you and wants you well more than you do.
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