COURAGE, n. L., – Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution.
With a tender touch, she pulled her mother-in-law close and wrapped her arms around her small frame. The finality of the moment was suffocating. How many more losses could they survive? The feelings of pain and loss were so fresh that it was hard to breathe. Taking a step back, her mother-in-law took one last look at her dead son and turned toward home. Home for now. With the loss of her father-in-law and now both the boys Ruth wasn’t sure what would happen to them. The three widows walked silently along the street. Each woman trying to sort out the recent loss. Ruth and Orpah looked at each other over the top of Naomi’s head. Both girls knew that this may be more than Naomi could bear.
Days later, Naomi emerged from her room with shoulders stooped but a determined look in her eyes. Naomi was going home to Bethlehem. Falling to the floor, Ruth weeps brokenly. Grief is strangling her heart. Preparations are made and Ruth and Orpah walk Naomi out of the city of Moab back toward Israel. Every step reminds Ruth that this is the end. The end of love for her. The end of her marriage. The end of her dream for a baby. The end of a friendship that has sustained her through the death of her husband. Naomi embraces the girls and gently tells them to go back home to their fathers. The death of Elimelek and her boys leaves all three women without a home or land. They must go back to their families. Orpah kisses Naomi and turns back. Ruth clings to Naomi and makes a choice that will change the course of history. This doesn’t have to be the end. Ruth steps out with courage and begs Naomi to allow her to stay by her side. She promises her faith and loyalty to Naomi and ultimately to God. Knowing that this choice will be life-changing and difficult, Naomi tries to persuade Ruth to turn back. The passion and courage that Ruth shows at this moment, perhaps the hardest moment of her life, gives us a glimpse into her soul.
Years later Naomi, who returned home bitter but through the love of a Moabite girl learned to trust God again, cuddles with her little grandson named Obed. Ruth was courageous and obedient and God rewarded her faith through a man named Boaz. A love story for the ages. In little Obed’s eyes Naomi sees not only her own redemption but the redemption of a nation. Obed would be in the line of Christ. Ruth’s courage changed the course of history.
Is courage a character trait that matters? Yes! We must run our race with courage. Through loss and grief we must stand with courage. Through trials and testing we must embrace opportunities. Through joy and suffering we must have the courage to wait on God. Courage is something we need to nurture in ourselves and in our children. Many times our lack of faith and worry restricts our children from becoming courageous. They feel our fear and hide from God’s best. We need to free them to live in the abundant life that God is offering. We need to live with courage and allow our children to walk with courage.
Here are 3 ways we can live with courage and lead our children to live with courage:
- Respond boldly to circumstances and events – For Ruth this meant leaving home. Ruth 1:16
- Wait on God’s timing – For Ruth this meant waiting on the events to play out and not manipulating the situation. Waiting takes deep courage and faith. Ruth 3:18
- Take advantage of opportunities. – For Ruth this meant humbling herself and opening her heart to potential new loss and grief by going to Boaz. Ruth 3: 5
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
What is filling you with fear? Respond boldly! Is God asking you to courageously wait on His timing for an answer? Be of good courage! Embrace the opportunities before you with joy and courage! God is with you wherever you go.
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