I am a Citizen of Heaven

Safe Wings

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, [Or to] turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people [shall be] my people, And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If [anything but] death parts you and me.”
— 
Ruth 1:16-17

I try to imagine this passage as it plays out. A woman in grief, still young, with options available to her, but determined. For what reason? To honor her dead husband? For the love of her bitter mother in law? I’m not sure. But her declaration is certain.

Your people will be mine. I will dwell with you, take your name, honor your God. Claim your home. I renounce myself as a Moabitess. I am now only Ruth, your daughter.

We think of home as something familiar. What if it’s rather a determination? An intentional choice that says “I’ve never been there, but that’s where you are to be, that is where I’ll be also.” What a transforming thought.

Ruth, this woman of reckless abandon, brings determination to life. Her resolve brought the notice and favor of Boaz, a man of standing who possessed all of the finest qualities. I love the blessing he speaks to Ruth in the fields.

“May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” -Ruth 2:12
Under whose wings you have come to seek refuge. Jesus says to the disciple who has sought His refuge, “I am preparing a place for you. Where I am, you will be.”

Home with Him. Under the safety of His wings.

I am a stranger in this world

Shaped by the Journey

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in God, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” ~Psalm 84:5 NKJV

I’m not much of a traveler. I get sick in the air and am impatient on the ground. I am a coward in things unfamiliar and a control freak in the things around me. I like an adventure, but only if it be comfortable, so this idea of a heart set on pilgrimage is terrifying to me.

But a journey is required. If I am to be conformed daily to the image of Christ, I don’t have a choice but to go. And what about that journey?  Will it be comfortable? Will it be a smooth, paved road? When I come to the mountain of challenge, will the road be steep and bumpy? When I descend into the valley of trial and discouragement, with the drop cause terror to claw against my heart?

Can I pick the route?

Probably not. Amend that—no. I can’t. Submitting to my LORD, I relinquished all presumption of that ‘right.’ But even in knowing that God is good, and His plan is good, and He wants to shape me into the image of Christ, which is good, I know that trials wait ahead. How do I know?

Because I’ve seen my father-in-law carve a stump with a chainsaw. I’ve asked him how he does it and he replied “I keep cutting until the bear comes out.”

I need more cutting, because I don’t look like Jesus yet. And from every indication of the saints that have gone before me, God has a tendency to use the blade of pilgrimage to clear away the things that don’t belong on His image-bearers.

I recently heard the following prayer by Betty Stam. “Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

Trembling, I’m stuttering the words for my own heart. Though I know how Betty’s life ended, I am also quite sure that I want to be like her. Because she looked like Jesus.