I originally wasn’t even going to apply to Western Carolina; I’d barely even heard of it at the time. Then they sent me an application in the mail. I filled it out because I thought it’d be a good back-up school. I ranked it fourth out of the five schools I applied to. I was rejected from my first two and decided against my number three.
If Western hadn’t sent me an application, I wouldn’t have applied. If I had been accepted to a school I preferred, I wouldn’t have attended Western. And if Western didn’t break the record for the number of accepted first-year students, I would’ve been placed in one of the dorms reserved just for freshman.
But I was put in Buchanan, an all-girls dorm at the time. I was placed on the ground floor, two doors down and on the other side of the hall from a girl called Becca. Becca’s older sister went to Western as well and lived on our hall. She was part of an organization on campus, members of which Becca had met before. So when Becca got accepted into WCU, she asked to room with one of the girls she’d met, putting her on the ground floor of Buchanan as well. That’s how I met one of my best friends.
Becca and I spent our first semester in the organization of our hallmates. A couple of weeks in, another freshman invited her roommate, Ayana, to join us. And Ayana clicked with Becca and me immediately. We hung out together outside of the group and would gravitate towards each other when in it. And when one of us decided to leave the organization, the other two did as well for the exact same reasons. That’s how I met another one of my best friends.
It’s been almost seven years since all of this, and the three of us are still every bit as close as we were then. None of us can imagine our lives without the others nor do we want to. No part of our meeting was a coincidence. God knew we would need each other. Much like Frodo and Sam, Carrie wouldn’t have got far without Becca and Ayana.
Ruth finds herself on a path full of blessing instead of coincidence in chapter two.
Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem after leaving Moab, and since it’s just the two of them without any sort of male spouse or relative, Ruth says she’ll go find a job picking up leftover grains in a field. Very Rosie the Riveter, right? No guys around to provide so she’ll do it herself. And Naomi tells her to do it because she knows it’s the only path to provision.
Ruth finds a job working in a field owned by a man named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s late husband and evidently a great man to work for. His employees like him, and it’s easy to see why. After getting Ruth’s story from the foreman, Boaz goes to Ruth and tells her where to glean from, that he told the young men to leave her alone, and that she can drink from the young men’s water supply (which would be opposite of how it usually worked and make her more of an equal to them).
Ruth is overwhelmed. She says she’s just a foreigner, which Boaz tells her he knows. He says he also knows what she’s done for Naomi and prays God would bless her.
Boaz tells her to dip her bread in wine at lunch and gives her so much roasted grain to eat that she can’t finish it all. Then he tells the young men to let her pick right from the sheaves without stopping her and to drop some barley on purpose. Ruth went home with a full basket, the leftover grain, and an invitation to come back until the harvest was over.
As we discussed in last week’s post, Matthew 1:5 tells us how the story of Ruth and Boaz ends: with a branch on Jesus’ family tree.
We can see the blessings because we know the ending. But I’m sure being a Moabite woman providing for two people didn’t seem like such a blessing at first. But then the story unfolded, and Ruth discovered that God was blessing her through Boaz and his kindness.
Boaz didn’t focus on Ruth being a Moabite. He focused on what she had done, how she was different, her redemption. And he blessed her.
That’s exactly how God is. The things that we think disqualify us from grace aren’t what God focuses on. He focuses on our redemption, whether we already have it or want to accept it from Him. Your past isn’t bigger than God’s love. What you’ve done, what you’re capable of doesn’t even compare to what God and His grace are capable of.
Ruth let her story unfold. She didn’t sit by and wait for things to change. She lived her life, did what she had to, and let God’s will happen.
Are you letting your story unfold? Are you waiting or are you doing? Are you letting God’s will happen to make your life better, to take you where He wants you to be? To get from the bad to the good or from good to better, we have to trust in God and keep going just like Ruth did.
By Carrie Prevette