We want to literally deposit a treasure into your hearts. You know, the kind of revelation where a light turns on and suddenly everything seems hopeful, possible and even practical.
The book of Ruth came alive to us this last week! All of a sudden the truth and power of kindness became a profound solution when it comes to relationships. Most families face trials and challenges throughout the course of life, and Ruth and Naomi were no different. The first chapter of Ruth describes:
- Earth-shaking tragedy
- Extreme loss
- The sting of bitterness
- Ongoing suffering
Does any of this sound familiar? Or even personal? As we dedicate our lives to help marriages and families, most people have experienced at least one of these debilitating seasons that seem to shadow any hope for a bright future. We are continually grateful that Jesus loves healing broken hearts, and He is not afraid of painful places, knowing that “weeping remains for a night” but “joy comes in the morning”. Pain has the potential to be the gateway to joy and redemption. Let’s jump ahead in the book of Ruth:
Ruth sees an opportunity
I believe that God is speaking creative ideas, options and opportunities to us all day long. Oh, to tune in to the frequency of his voice! Oh, to be close to God and hear His whisper in our hearts! Ruth acted on the still small voice in her heart, pulled herself out of a desperate state and simply began to work. She worked hard. In fact she worked so hard gathering grain during the time of harvest…just picking up the scraps and leftovers, that she was noticed.
“Then Boaz asked his foreman, who is that girl over there?” (Ruth 2:5)
“She has been hard at work except for a few minutes’ rest over there in the shelter” (Ruth 2:7b)
“Listen my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to bother you. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”
She thanked him warmly, “Why are you being so kind to me?”
“I know about the love and kindness you have shown to your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers.”
Kindness freely given, and kindness noticed.
There is always reward in your place of refuge.
Your opportunity today is to receive this message for yourself, from you Kinsman-Redeemer. He is saying to you, “I have seen your sacrifice. I have noticed your hard work and kindness. As you take refuge in me, in our secret place, I will reward you fully”.
“May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully” (Ruth 2:21).
The power of kindness brings comfort.
“You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me” (Ruth 2:13).
Let’s bring this home for you: What are you craving in your relationships?
To feel understood.
To feel heard.
To be accepted even in weakness.
Kindness is generous in mercy.
Most of you know what happened in our marriage sixteen years ago. Bob and I were both craving to be heard and understood. But we kept going without paying attention to the deepest cravings of our heart.
Audrey: In my season of desperation, before the affair, I continued to show kindness, but I was being a pleaser and a performer, and the kindness was more of a behavior, as my heart was empty, lost and destitute. I neglected to reveal my deepest need to Bob. He didn’t even have a chance to answer the needs of my heart.
We were both craving to be noticed and comforted. But we kept up our busy façade.
Bob: I stopped noticing the sacrifice and hard work of my wife, and just expected it. She needed comfort and kindness, but I continued took her generosity for granted.
Audrey: I told Bob about the affair. Our life became much like the first chapter of Ruth.
How do you recover from such disconnect?
Kindness became a profound healing proponent. Our pain was very different from each other, but we both offered kindness even when it was not reciprocated. We lived through seasons of pouring generous mercy upon each other.
Audrey: After the confession, when Bob interrogated me and showed very little mercy, in my deep remorse, I was continued to love him when he tried to push me away. Kindness.
Bob: I kept our family together, I purposed to do the right thing. Keep our marriage. Push through the personal pain and rejection. Kindness.
Audrey: Bob’s ultimate kindness was when he chose to love our baby and give him his own name. Bob gave our family the beautiful gift of extravagant love.
The untouchable indescribable love of a Kinsman-Redeemer.
The invitation today is to receive kindness from your Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus. He has bought you with a price. His kindness is personal in the place where you need it the most. He has sacrificed for you, He lives for you and He pours generous mercy into your heart to refresh your soul and grant you new hope.
“My daughter, its time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for” (Ruth 3:1).
I read that verse over and over again. God is saying to us: Child, it’s time that you experience permanent provision. Wow. I think everyone in the world longs for permanent provision. Permanent means forever. Never a day of lack. Never a day of wondering whether things are going to be okay. Permanent provision.
Go ahead and feel the love of your Kinsman-Redeemer ministering kindness over your soul. Take a deep breath and write the truth on your heart: I am permanently provided for. The treasure of God’s kindness towards you takes care of everything.
As freely as you have received, freely give. Today is your day to relish in God’s kindness and give it away with abandoned enthusiasm. Be kind to those who don’t deserve it. Be kind to your family. Be kind to strangers. Be kind to yourself.
“Praise the Lord who has given you a family redeemer today!” (Ruth 4:14b).
We love you our precious friends.
May the Holy Spirit download kindness, mercy and comfort to you this day…
Audrey and Bob