Devotions

Embracing Your God-Given Life Plan

March 13, 2019
“‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.’” Ruth 3:9 (NIV)
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Have you ever wondered if you took a misstep somewhere on the choreographed timeline of your life, and that’s why it hasn’t gone according to plan?

One night I questioned nearly every large decision my husband and I have made. He replied, “But where does it stop? What if I had never moved down to Tennessee? What if your parents had stayed in Pennsylvania?”

He continued backing up the timeline of our lives, and I could see what he meant: So many decisions had clearly led us to this point. But what decisions were we supposed to make now? What was the will of God for our family? Were we living in the center of it or on the fringe?

My questioning began long before our marriage.

After high school, I questioned whether I should go straight to college or spend a year in Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). One evening, one of the YWAM Nashville staff members had dinner at the country-style restaurant where I waitressed. This man, who was like a father figure to me, asked about my plans after high school. Grateful to unburden myself, I put down my pitcher of sweet tea and told him about my debate.

For as long as I live, I will never forget how he held out his large, calloused hand and said, “What if the will of God is like this hand? The five different fingers represent five different paths your life could take, but regardless of what you choose, aren’t you still contained in the palm of His hand?”

I ended up going straight to college, and that analogy of God’s will has stayed with me over the past 14 years. It reminds me of the story of Ruth, a woman just like you and me, found in four short chapters in the Old Testament.

Maybe Ruth questioned whether she, her mother-in-law Naomi, and her sister-in-law were in the center of God’s will after their husbands all died. Can you imagine how Ruth retraced the choreographed steps their lives had taken, wondering where their timelines had gone wrong? Ruth was no Sunday School felt-board figure. She felt like we feel. She wept like we weep.

No doubt, she even questioned how God could be just, if these were His plans.

And yet, Ruth kept taking steps without knowing where her timeline would end. She traveled to Naomi’s homeland of Judah and, after so much famine, found herself living among a bounty of crops. But though it was God’s will to provide for Ruth and Naomi, Ruth still had the choice to get out there each day and glean.

And she chose.

Ruth didn’t wallow in indecision or grief. She got up and moved toward whatever future God might have for her. Even before she lay at Boaz’s feet, Ruth lay at the feet of her Guardian-Redeemer, knowing He would cover her life. We see this in our key verse: “‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family’” (Ruth 3:9).

Imagine if Ruth chose differently. Imagine if she instead returned to her people in Moab and let her mother-in-law make that journey alone. Imagine if Ruth chose to cling to what she knew because it was easier than heading out into the unknown.

Ruth would never have given birth to Boaz’s son, Obed, who would then be part of the lineage of David, the lineage of Christ, humankind’s ultimate Guardian-Redeemer.

Each day, we too are presented with a choice: return to our familiar, questioning ways, or lay at the feet of our Guardian-Redeemer, knowing that — no matter what the future holds — the blood of Jesus, bearing the lineage of faithful Ruth, will continue to cover our lives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be my Guardian-Redeemer. Thank You for directing my life’s path. May I seek Your heart before my desires … until Your will becomes the desire of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:36, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES

From Jolina Petersheim, the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance, comes How the Light Gets In, a contemporary spin on the story of Ruth set on a cranberry farm in Wisconsin. Pick up your copy of this engrossing novel — about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on — today.

Catch the book trailer for How the Light Gets In, here.

CONNECT

Stop by Jolina’s website for more encouragement. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Enter to WIN a copy of How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim. In celebration of this book, Jolina’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, March 18, 2019.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND

How are you going to pursue your God-given life plan while also trusting Him with your life?

What are some ways you see Jesus as your Guardian-Redeemer, either now or in your past?

© 2019 by Jolina Petersheim. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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