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RUTH | THROUGH THE HIGHS AND LOWS, BE PATIENT AND BE YOU


Do you ever feel lost, confused, or don’t know which way to go or what decision will be best for you?


The life of a coach, athlete, or parent is full of ups and downs. In some games and some seasons, you feel like you are on top of the world, and in other games or seasons, you feel like you are at the bottom.


For coaches, athletes, and parents, the highs can be high and the lows can be really low. The key to finding some stability is knowing who you are, knowing what you stand for, and being consistent in sticking to your core values.


When he was in high school, Steve Kerley was a promising high-school football player who after a devastating car accident in which his car flipped into a ditch, was left with a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the chest down. Instead of living a depressed life where he felt sorry for himself, Steve would soon find his next passion: wheelchair rugby, or as it was known then - Murderball.


Not only did Steve find his passion, he excelled in it, working his way up to the US national team and winning gold in international competitions. Steve said, “The greater the challenge, the greater the joy in overcoming it.”


Choose who you want to be and don’t let the highs and lows change that.


The story of Ruth is a great Biblical example of overcoming challenges. Her story shows us that no matter what we are going through, we can have peace, we can have joy, and we can stick to who we are and our core values while we wait for God to bless us and our hard work.


Ruth was a woman from Moab, a nation next to Israel, and she married an Israelite man whose family moved to Moab from Judah (part of Israel) because of a famine in their own land. Her husband moved to Moab with his mom, dad, and brother, but his dad died years earlier, leaving the mom with her two sons.


After the brothers married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, both men died, leaving the sisters-in-law to take care of their mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi heard that the famine was over in Judah, so they went back to Israel together, but Naomi encouraged both of the young women to go back to their homes in Moab so they could remarry and start their own families in the land they grew up in.


Orpah went back to Moab, but Ruth stayed with Naomi, telling her, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more if anything but death parts me from you (‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬-‭17‬).”


Ruth ended up finding love in Israel, married a wealthy Israelite man named Boaz, and their son, Obed, was the grandfather of King David, the shepherd boy who went from slaying Goliath to becoming one of the most influential kings and people in the Bible.


Despite everything that happened to her and around her, Ruth knew who she was, what kind of person she wanted to be, and what kind of life she wanted to live, and she stuck with it through the lowest of the lows.


Four things stand out to me about Ruth’s story.


BE LOYAL TO THE GOOD PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE


First, Ruth was loyal to her mother-in-law. She had every reason to leave Naomi, including the fact that Naomi encouraged her to do so. But Ruth stayed with Naomi and took care of her. So many of us run and leave at the first hint of struggle or adversity, but not Ruth.


Would you have had the strength to stay with Naomi as Ruth did?


BE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE


Second, Ruth’s kindness and work ethic led her to find the right husband. Ruth found grain in Boaz’s fields and brought it back for her and Naomi to eat. When Boaz learned who she was and that she was taking care of her mother-in-law, he let her stay and told his people to look out for her. Boaz told Ruth, “The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge (‭‭Ruth‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ ‭ESV‬‬)!”


When we do the right thing for the right reasons, the right people will notice.


GOD BLESSES HIS PEOPLE - EVEN THROUGH THE LOWS


Third, God blessed Ruth, and through her came King David and eventually Jesus. In part because of her kindness and work ethic, Boaz fell in love with Ruth, married her, and started a family with her, and through their kids came a royal line of kings and our savior. Ruth’s story shows how God can work through any of us. Even through adversity and hardship, God is working.


BE PATIENT WHILE YOU WORK


Most importantly, the story of Ruth teaches me patience. We want what we want exactly when we want it. Ruth had a husband and lost him. Still, she was patient. When her sister-in-law Orpah went back home, she stayed patient, and her patience was rewarded.


Isaiah 40:31 is a well-known verse about being patient and waiting on the Lord: But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired (AMP).


Don’t be in too much of a rush to make things happen. Work hard and do the right things, but be patient and enjoy the journey.


Ruth and Naomi had every reason to feel fear, worry, and anxiety because of their position, but they didn’t. They worked hard, took care of each other, and seemed to enjoy the life they built together. Patience is not just the ability to wait; it is the ability to keep a good attitude while we are waiting.


The hard part about patience is that it is that patience is a fruit of the Spirit that can only be developed under trial. We have to go through hard times to grow and develop our patience, so having trust that God is working is huge when you are going through times.


In Proverbs 3:5-6, it is written, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."


Early in her story, Ruth tells Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God (Ruth 1:16). She didn’t even fully know Naomi’s God, but she adopted Him as her own, leaned on Him, and God made straight her path.


God can and will do that for us if we ask, listen, and obey. When you are struggling or feeling lost, confused, and alone, say this Bible verse:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."


Then look and listen for God’s instructions and do what He leads you to do.


SOMETHING(s) TO THINK ABOUT


1 - Who are you and what do you believe in? What are 3-5 core values that you want to be known by?

My example: Joy


2 - Define those core values by writing an action sentence for each one. 

Example: I will enjoy the things I do and who I do them with by bringing positive energy and enthusiasm.


3 - When is it hardest to live by these core values?

Example: When I am around negative people or people who make excuses.


4 - How can you overcome those barriers and be the person you want to be?

Example: I can’t control anybody else’s energy, but I won’t be a complainer or an excuse maker. I will find the good in every situation, and if I need to, I will remove myself from negative environments.


My prayer:


Dear God, I trust you with all my heart, and I won’t lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge you, I pray that you will make my paths straight, and I pray that I can have patience while enjoying the journey you have me on. Please show and tell me what I need to do, and please help me have the discipline and courage to do it. In Jesus’s name, I pray, amen.


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