Thursday, April 24, 2008

God Made Me Contemplative

Ruth 1:22 (New International Version)
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Yes, I confess: I just read the book of Ruth tonight. Those of you with the Marathon of Biblical Proportions "Tour Sheet" will know, that is the reading for March 26th.

I haven't exactly been lagging behind--in a heap at the side of the road is more like it.

I don't quite know what happened, but it might have something to do with the daily reports from Paul of how far ahead he is. He is now far into June's readings; he's somewhere in the Psalms. Although I smile and nod every time he gives me an update, I find this strangely discouraging, as if there is no hope of catching up, so why even try?.

This isn't Paul's fault, it's just me being silly. Well, I've decided that I'm giving myself a shake and I'm marching to the beat of my own drummer.

God made me contemplative; I can't help it. I am a ponderer and I love to linger over words, allowing a single sentence to speak to me. And even more, I love God to speak to me through a single sentence.

Tonight I read the beautiful story of Ruth and found myself thinking of all that is hidden in the words at the end of chapter 1. So Naomi returned...accompanied by Ruth...arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

I mean, isn't that a gripping way to end a chapter? Doesn't it just make you want to turn the page to see what happens next?

As I lingered over those words, especially, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning, I thought of how the words set the stage for the unfolding story. There was nothing random, from the point of view of God's purposes, in the time of Naomi and Ruth's arrival in Bethlehem, for through following the harvesters as a gleaner, humbly gathering what was left behind; Ruth would find the kind man who would take her under his protection; a kinsman. And later he would take her as his wife.

And so it is with our stories. When we humbly submit our lives to God, as we know Ruth did from her well known words in chapter 1:16: Your people will be my people and your God my God; we are under his protection and covering. We can be at peace and know that all is well. We need not worry that we are the mercy of random fate, or chance. God has a plan and an agenda for our lives and he is aware of and cares for, our needs.

Matthew 6:31-32 (New Living Translation)
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Psalm 131:2 (New Living Translation)
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

4 comments:

Angcat said...

My humble thought is that as you take this journey, eating on His Word each day, savoring meanings and words, you will come out satiated and richer.
I don't believe that the Bible was meant to be a marathon, a race.
I know it is good to read it through and know the stories within, but must we make it another hill to conquer?
I know that's not the purpose of the marathon, and I cheer on those who are so diligent to read each day, and I know there are many different ways and purposes for reading...but I'm contemplative with you.
Linger, stay, eat...
Blessings to your day B.
Love A.

Joyful Fox said...

Belinda,

Reading your contemplations on Ruth really touched me. We are His and there is great comfort and strength we can draw from that. Thanks for shining through His grace.

Belinda, I liked what Angcat said about savouring. His word is a gift - to ponder, enjoy, and read at the pace where where we can draw from it. As much as I say that I too was really behind and caught up. It was a stress over my head to plog through several times a day - not because of the marathon but because of my committment with my family who I am accountable to. Both Jason and Hannah were on track with their readings and it bothered Hannah that I was 'behind'. She wanted to ask me questions and wants me to be where "we're supposed to be". Maybe I'll spend some time just sharing Ang's words. They were wise.

Well Bless you friend, read on...

Susan said...

I have been looking at the Marathon as an exercise in obedience and in diligence, both qualities which sadly need developing and fleshing out in my life. So I "run" in the morning, and sit down to pick daisies and look for four leaf clovers in the evening... I started to bolt ahead early on, and was at one time weeks ahead, but I felt like I needed to discipline myself to slow down and follow the plan. Because that is what God knows I need.

Isn't it cool how it's different for everyone and God doesn't treat any of us the same?

I'm glad you are taking time to and ruminate, because I sure do enjoy the fruit of that time you spend in a heap at the side of the road...

Belinda said...

Oh, Friends, your comments made me think of this psalm. Susan, I think that "in a heap by the side of the road" is where I do best! Maybe that should be the other title of this blog :)

Psalm 133:1 (The Message)
A Pilgrim Song of David
1-3 How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
It's like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron's beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It's like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that's where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.