“And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” Ruth 2:15,16 (KJV)
I love reading the love story of Boaz and Ruth, don’t you? Ruth’s absolute devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and the reward God gave her in the form of Boaz’s love and care for her is precious and heart-warming. Today’s verse tells of Boaz’s notice of her and how he looked out for her and gave her special concern. I love reading the part in chapter 4 verse 10 where Boaz says, “Moreover Ruth the Moabitess….have I purchased to be my wife.” He chose to redeem her and take her for his own!
Being a truly hopeless romantic at heart, I love to hear people tell me their individual love stories. I find it so interesting to hear of how they met, whether or not they started out as friends, what their first impression was of each other, and how their relationship evolved to the way it is now. Sadly, many of the couples I know and have known on a personal, intimate level haven’t always had a happily-ever-after love story. I’ve seen many marriages go on the rocks over the years and witnessed a lot of heartache and confusion…and to be honest, I can’t think of many real-life positive examples of marital bliss.
So, early in my life, I began to paint a mental image of a not-so-pretty view of marriage. Deep inside I still longed for it, but I didn’t see many examples of it being played out and lived in front of me. I loved to read books by Grace Livingston Hill, Sallie Lee Bell, Janette Oke, and others who created such vividly beautiful portraits of what true love should be. Their characters carried me away…far from the discord and chaos of the real-life situations around me that were such a stark contrast to the blissful relationships of my favorite heroes & heroines in the books. Then I met, fell madly in love, and married my soul mate, the one who fulfills me and is and continues to be my real-life hero. He changed my heart, and my mind. Each and every day, he instills hope that true love is real, it does last, and it doesn’t just exist in storybooks and fairy tales. He shows me by his daily example that love endures just as strong in the worst of times as it does in the best.
I believe God has someone for everyone. I completely trust that He has a Master Plan for each one of our lives, and in His time, and in His way, He ordains and orchestrates our steps toward and in the way of that plan. And after we meet that one, special person with whom we will walk through life, I believe He wants our journey together to be sweet and beautiful...not uproarious and unpleasant.
Life is a canvass of consistently-changing scenes. There are dark and bright backgrounds, cloudy and sunny skies, and pleasant and dreary landscapes. Always moving, always flowing, one scene blending into the next, as the Master Artist sees best. As the backdrops change and as the seasons of life come and go, a lot of the outcome and level of our durability depends upon our attitude towards the one to whom we have pledged our vows. We can either pull together, or we can split apart at the seams, each going in our own direction.
As we have all figured out by now, life is not a fairy tale. Life gets messy. It comes unglued sometimes. It gets downright ugly. The most carefully-laid plans fall completely apart, and are replaced with ones that are the extreme opposite of our dreams. We walk through depths of sorrow that we would never choose to have to endure. We have to deal with difficulties that reach uncomfortably close to breaking us. There are imperfect, demanding, unreasonable people thrown into each one of our mixes that make the uphill climb harder to ascend.
Unfortunately, not everyone wants a good marriage to succeed. There are people who actually try to drive wedges, inject suspicion, and even purposely place stumbling blocks and temptation, due to their own insecurities and jealousies. It is going to take a determined, concentrated effort…on both parts, to make sure love lasts, and to continue the pursuit of happily-ever-after.
I learned a long time ago that the end of the day matters. No matter who I am at odds with, no matter who is demanding my attention, no matter how much pressure I feel from other people, Kevin is my husband, and he is the one I face at the end of each day. He is the one who matters most. Our relationship is the one that I care most about….right after my relationship with God. I could write a book…and someday, Lord willing, I will. J For now, let it suffice to say that we’ve weathered a lot of storms. At times, the turbulence was so over the top that neither of us knew what to do, what step to take next, or what the outcome would be. But, we always knew which way to turn….towards each other. We never pulled apart. It was never even on the radar screen of options.
The hopeful part is this….no matter what your story reads like so far, no matter what the past has been for you, if there is life, there is hope. You are still writing your love story. It isn’t over until it’s over. It may look like things will never be ideal, that it is hopeless, and the ending is inevitably going to be sad. But, the end scene hasn’t been written yet! You are still in the process, so take hope! We can’t change the past. There is not one thing we can do about wrong choices already made and unwise turns already taken. But, by God’s grace, we can change the future, to a great degree.
Sometimes it is hard…especially if one of the two of you is not willing to make that change. We will never be able to change the other person. And to try to force that into happening is completely foolish and comes with great risk of total loss. But, there is one person we can change…that we can allow God to conform. That is ourselves. As we redirect our outlook from finding everything wrong with the other to looking within and facing the harsh realities of our own faults, our focus shifts in the right direction.
Happily-ever-after may not seem remotely possible to you, my friend. But, remember this, “With God all things are possible”. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t ever think there is no hope. Forget the past chapters, and determine to make future chapters and the ending of your love story the very best they can be …starting today. You hold the pen in your hand, and the ink is still wet. Make it a story your children and grand-children will love to repeat and want to duplicate when writing their own love story. With God, “happily ever after” is still possible. J