Trusting Over Reasoning
by Marlene Houk
My twelve-year-old daughter showed me her sewing project. I tilted my head and tried to see the familiar shape of a pair of pants, but it wasn’t working. Instead of sewing the back and front inside legs together, she had sewn the two back legs together and repeated this with the two front legs. When she sewed the important inseam, the outside seams of the legs were on the inside, and the pants were upside down! Now, a cute little curve jutted out from each side, and the pockets fluttered at ankle-length. My daughter thought that, since the pieces were cut together, they should be sewn together. We both laughed with abandon, realizing that her reasoning was off.
My daughter’s experience reminds me of Naomi’s story in the Bible, located in the book of Ruth. Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, dedicated, and kind. She had accepted Naomi’s Jehovah God and moved with her back to Naomi’s hometown of Bethlehem. Their physical journey becomes the door which opens upon several spiritual journeys that occur in this story.
For example, Naomi travels from human reasoning to trusting the Lord, and her adventure transports her from despair to delight. In chapter one, Naomi’s reasoning rests on her own ability to fix Ruth’s and Orpah’s dilemma and find her two widowed daughters-in-law husbands. At the end of the chapter, she declares that the Lord sent her out full, and she has returned empty, assuming that if she’s hurting, God hates her. Her humanness craved an answer to her sorrow above God’s Word. And, today, we seek immediate solutions within our reasoning when, instead, God offers an immeasurable future of divine delight. Naomi looked at life through her physical senses. She was unable to look beyond her circumstances and trust her Redeemer to banish bitterness.
However, Naomi changes in chapter two. She admits that someone other than herself has provided for them. In stark contrast to chapter one, she focuses on someone other than herself: Boaz. And in Ruth 2:19-20, she recognized the Lord’s part in relieving their poverty.
In chapter three, Naomi trusted that the Lord who provided their food would also provide a permanent solution. She could not force Boaz to accept Ruth’s request to redeem them; she could only do what she told Ruth to do in verse 18: sit still.
Chapter four tells the result of her refocus from reasoning to trust. Naomi was willing to journey in her trust, and her faulty conclusions faded into the distance. Human thinking hinders holy trust. But trusting the Lord brought Naomi fruitfulness in the form of a sweet grandson and healing purpose to her pain.
We can trace Naomi’s journey from reasoning to trusting with the simple repetition of her name for her God.
Naomi grieved deeply the loss of her husband and sons, and she was justifiably filled with despair. But she continues to call Him, Lord (six times). Lord includes the idea of God seeking a relationship with His people. Naomi embraces this when she addresses Him as Lord whether in the anguish of heart (Ruth 1:13) or thankfulness (Ruth 2:20). She opens her wounded heart, showing her relationship with her God by calling Him, Lord. Naomi hadn’t deserted her Lord; she simply couldn’t see beyond her grief which is a normal reaction. But, through the cracks in her heart, the Lord shines through to us.
Naomi’s instructions to Ruth revealed her heart and documented her own journey from reasoning to trusting. What template did Naomi share that would help us turn from reasoning to trusting?
She told Ruth in Chapter 3, verse 18 to “sit still my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” As if to underscore her instructions, neither Ruth nor Naomi speak for the remainder of the book.
The rest that Naomi sought for Ruth becomes the spiritual rest that our souls crave. Hebrews 4:9 tells us that, as Christians, we already have the spiritual rest we need so desperately because Our Redeemer declared that His sacrifice was finished. Boaz reminds us of Christ in that he also finished Ruth’s and Naomi’s redemption process, allowing them to rest. We can enjoy the rest that we have in Christ, relaxing in His plan for us. We know that we trust God when we stop depending upon ourselves to solve our problem. We still go. We still work. But we leave the reasoning to our Redeemer.
My daughter continued to sew, but she has also learned to follow directions carefully, seeking help if uncertain. And that is key to a life of faith: subjecting our reasoning to the sweet trust we find in the Lord as He gives us directions from His Word.
Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at Bible167@gmail.com
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