Ruth Offers Wisdom in Handling Unknowns
By Marlene Houk
2 Chronicles 20:12 “Neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Lysa TerKeurst states in her book, “When we need to know something, as a Christian, it makes us turn to God. We are willing to follow God even though we don’t know what we’re doing.” (Terkeurst, 2018)
Does the unknown affect us? Building that first house? Learning the intricacies of a new job? Caring for our first baby: that tiny human, helpless and dependent upon our knowledge and wisdom?
My husband and I experienced significant confusion when we brought our daughter home. She seemed quite delicate and dainty, but what was coming out of her wasn’t! After seven times, while my husband paced frantically, he suggested we take her back to the hospital! Even after years of helping my mother keep babies in our home, I was confused myself. After we calmed down and realized a baby’s diet may cause her to assimilate differently and newborns needed to get their systems working, we heaved sighs of relief. But those emotions ran high because we didn’t know what to do.
After reading the book of Ruth, I realized that unknowns fill her story. Not knowing creates within us emotions ranging from eagerness to fear and from rapid heartbeat to goosebumps. Unawareness creates devastating results as in the sinking of the Titanic.
But, as Christians, when we realize that God knows our unknowns, we don’t need to fret about them. We do need to research, collect information, and make decisions. But many times unknowns still exist. If we train ourselves, they can encourage us to trust the God who knows. We can then make our decisions—but leave the outcome to Him. Knowing that God is already in the future, waiting for us, clears the fog of panic and empowers us to focus.
The best emotion to come from unknowns could be amazement and wonder when God shows us spiritual truth. Imagine what Ruth felt as she realized that God had indeed taken care of her and Naomi by preparing Boaz for them. Experiencing the truth of God’s care birthed wonder in her heart at the generosity of her newly found Redeemer.
Ruth’s unknowns show us how to cope with our uncertainties. Looking at Ruth’s story in a generic way reveals that her unknowns are very similar to ours today. The following list contains a few of the unknowns in her narrative.
- She didn’t know about her direction in life.
- She didn’t know how to walk with a friend through grief.
- She didn’t know how to find a husband.
- She didn’t know who to trust. She possibly knew her future husband for less than three months.
How do we handle the feelings that arise from unknowns in our lives? Does your heart sink at the array of many choices? Sometimes being healthy eludes us and causes frustration and fear. Conversely, you may be eager to attack your lack of knowledge. Many might shout, Google! I agree because I research as quickly as an eyelash can blink. Or, perhaps, an unknown requires us to consult an expert such as a specialist, repairman, or doctor. Our struggles may demand to articulate them to a professional such as a counselor or psychiatrist to help us separate our emotions from our identity.
As Christians, our confusion pushes us to follow the Truth, nudges us to go and work in God’s fields, and causes us to look to Jesus who pierces our concerns with clarity.
How is Ruth showing us methods for dealing with our unknowns?
- Follow the truth that you do know: For example, Boaz followed the Mosaic law that he knew. (Ruth 3:11-12) We know that Christ fulfilled the law and that John 14:6 says that He is the truth. So, when we follow Him, we follow the truth.
- Go do the next right thing. (Ruth 2:2) Ruth asked Naomi if she could go, and Naomi said go. Ruth went, even though she didn’t know where to connect with her kinsman-redeemer. Her story overflows with Ruth going to the fields to provide for her mother-in-law.
- THINK about the way God works in your life. (Ruth 2:12) Realize truths from what God has already done. Ruth, at some point, learned that Boaz’s mother was a prostitute, rescued by Hebrew spies. They saved Rahab and her family, and she became Boaz’s mother. (Matthew 1:5) Ruth could reason from this that God was an inclusive God, and he would find a way for her to fit in too.
Now, a few decades later, we demonstrate more relaxation in our role as mom and dad. We followed parenting truths gleaned from years of advice. My husband and I activated this wisdom in the daily care of our children. And we acquired priceless truths from this journey. We learned, like Ruth, that our unknowns lead us to God and His ways for dealing with them. Ruth’s plan for managing unknowns (follow, go, think) is ready for you to glean from the Master’s hands.
Reference: TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. Thomas Nelson, 2018.
Marlene Houk is a regualr contributor to Blue Ridge Christain News. Her passion is to delve deeply into the truths of Bible women and to discuss those in Bible Studies called Backstage Pass to Bible Women. She and her husband discover joy, nurture, and challenge in their church. Her contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can Purchase her book, Hidden in a List: secrets from Bible women, on Amazon HERE.