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Girlfriends in God - Dec. 17, 2009

December 17, 2009 

Holding Fast to the Faithful One 

Gwen Smith

Today's Truth 
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Friend To Friend
My husband and I are in a waiting period. His company has recently gone through a merger and is collapsing positions and territories, which leaves his employment in jeopardy. We'll know soon if Brad will be looking for another job. In the mean time, God is bidding me to trust Him.

Choosing to trust God is so daily, isn't it? When I only look at the "what-ifs" of this situation - the possible unemployment, the grueling process of job hunting, the financial strain and the uncertainty of the economy - my faith and God-confidence shakes and wanes. Fear and doubt knock on my heart, suitcases in hand, wanting to move in and take up residence. On the other hand, when I fix my eyes on God, look at His character and at the ways He has brought us through hard times in the past, my faith is strengthened. Courage, confidence and joy knock on my heart! They're much better residents!

The Old Testament book of Ruth features the heart-warming story of Ruth and Naomi: two women who faced difficult circumstances and an uncertain future. Following the death of her husband and sons, Naomi decided to move back to her homeland of Israel. Though she freed her daughters-in-law to stay in their home country of Moab and re-marry, Ruth refused to leave Naomi's side.

Determined and loyal, Ruth held tightly to the woman she loved deeply. Though our natural tendency in hard times is often to try to go it alone, I've learned from Ruth, and from my own experience, that in turbulent times it's vital that we hold fast to our faithful God and to the ones we love.

Not only did Ruth cling to Naomi, she held tight to Naomi's God, the One true God of Israel.

"Look," said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her."

But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her" (vv. 15-18).

God breathed hope into the souls of Naomi and Ruth through their kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. The book of Ruth goes on to tell a fascinating story of how God lovingly cared for and blessed Naomi as He used the faithful friendship and kindness of Ruth to "renew her life and sustain her" (4:15). She went back to Bethlehem as a broken, hopeless widow and was restored by the loving hand of God.

Like Naomi, when I experience difficult times - like the one Brad and I are facing now - I must choose to trust God. Some days I choose well. Some days I don't. I've found that my courage to trust is bolstered by playing praise music, meditating on God's goodness, reading Scripture, and praying. Those things collectively renew my mind and strengthen my faith.

No matter what challenges you face today, take comfort that God knows every issue on your heart and is able to shoulder your burdens. Hold fast to the faithful One. Your challenges do not fall outside the scope of God's ability to intervene. God is mysterious, He's powerful, and He's able! When you lift your eyes from your situation and fix them on your Savior, you will find peace in the pain and strength in the struggle.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Let's Pray
Holy Father, You know exactly where I am right now and You know the circumstance of my life.  Please give me the courage to be gracious in my relationships, and help me to trust You today.  

In Jesus' Name, 

Now It's Your Turn
Go back and read the book of Ruth. (It's only 4 chapters!)

Look for the ways that Ruth and Naomi held fast to God and to each other through trying circumstances.

List three difficult times that God has brought you through.

Examine your heart to see if there is any fear or doubt hanging around.

More From The Girlfriends
I love the saying, "When we work, we work…but when we pray, God works." It seems crazy that God would invite us into His mysterious work through prayer...but He does. I'd love to pray for you today. Please visit my FACEBOOK PAGE and leave a prayer request on my wall. GiGs from all over the world will see your post and join us in prayer.

NEED ENCOURAGEMENT and INSPIRATION? Portions of today's devotion are taken from Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful. Order a copy or two as Christmas gifts!

LOVE TO WORSHIP? Download Gwen's live worship CD, Unsearchable, from iTunes, or order the CD from the store on her website

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