Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Then she (Ruth) said, ‘Let me find favor in your sight, my lord. For you have comforted me and have spoken to the heart of your maidservant, though I am not as one of your maidservants.’”
Ruth 2: 13
“A Fruit-Full Time”
When We Long for Comfort
“It will greatly comfort you if you can see God’s hand in both your losses and your crosses.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Has there been a time in my life when I longed to be comforted?
Did someone come to lend a hand?
How has Heaven’s comfort helped me in moments of discouragement?
“If I alone might have all the solace and comfort of the world, and might use the delights of this world according to my own desire and without sin, it is certain that they would not long endure. And so, my soul cannot be fully comforted or perfectly refreshed, except in God alone, who is the Comforter of the poor in spirit and the Embracer of the humble and low in heart.”
Thomas à Kempis
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God (who is the Source) of every comfort (consolation and encouragement.) Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
II Corinthians 1: 3,4
As I’ve shared with you before, I’m a rather sentimental type and when you combine this fact with my love of old-fashioned, weepy movies, you can figure out that by the end of one of those mushy love stories I’m a blubbering mess. The other night, after watching a touching story that pulled at my heartstrings, I felt a tap on my arm, and there stood my dear Jim with a hankie in his hand. “I thought you might need this by the end of the picture,” he said in a soft comforting voice. It’s nice to know, after 40 years together, how well Jim reads my emotions and understands my feelings. We all appreciate having a hand of tenderness and a comforting heart during times of emotional strain.
As I read our beautiful text for today, I decided this is a passage of Scripture I must write down on a card and keep close at hand, for it is one of the most touching verses I’ve read recently, and for several reasons.
First, Ruth came to Boaz, the owner of the field, someone whose rank was much higher than hers, and whose place in Israelite society made him a person to be revered, and she said, “Let me find favor in your sight.” As the Hebrew translation says, “May I be the beneficiary of your grace.” Isn’t this what we all want from our Father in heaven – we long for His graciousness to be showered down upon us. And then Ruth continued by telling Boaz that during this time of deep pain and loneliness in her life, he had been gracious enough to give her “comfort.” We need to stop and look at this word “comfort” for it means “to sigh” or as an example in the Hebrew dictionary, “breathe strongly.” It’s as though at a time of weakness, when the hardships of life took Ruth’s breath away, along came Boaz, who “consoled” Ruth, by breathing life into her world again. And then, to make even a more touching point, Ruth told Boaz how blessed she was because, “You have spoken to the heart of your maidservant.” Here again, we are enlightened by the Hebrew meaning of the word “spoken” which means to “commune or speak in a subdued and supporting manner.”
What a phenomenal passage of Scripture. Ruth looked at the master of the field and thanked him for the grace she, an undeserving outsider, had received during a time when she needed to be consoled and longed for someone who by their tender speech would subdue the hurt and worry in her heart. What’s so touching is that the last phrase of Ruth 2: 13 states Ruth told Boaz, “You’ve done all this for me and I’m not even one of your maidservants. I’m not one of your household.”
What an example of what our heavenly Father does for us. At those times when we hurt the most, He steps in with His heavenly comfort and consolation to subdue the hurt and worry in our hearts. Like Boaz, God’s gifts are given, not because we are deserving, but because of God’s grace. And as we understand and accept the bounty from our Father’s hand, the Apostle Paul so beautifully helps us recognize that from the storehouse of comfort that has been given to us, we are then to pass on this gift of heavenly comfort to those we meet. For our Father not only comforts us, but He speaks directly to your heart and mine. What a tender gift!
“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”
A Friend in Need
“Lord, I am hurting.
I feel like a tree
with its roots laid bare.
Suddenly there seems to be no support
and I don’t know what to do about it.
I know that adversity builds character,
but that’s tomorrow’s story
and it has no meaning for now.
What I need, Lord, is a friend.
Choose my friend carefully.
Please, no one who’s going to tell me
how to put my life straight,
no amateur analyst or teacher,
no preacher, no well-meaning person
who is going to “should” all over me.
I want someone to come in the door
with a smile and a big warm hug
to let me know I’m valuable
just as I am.
There’ll be no advice,
no expectation of change.
My friend will already know
that pain is important in journey
and must be travelled through.
My friend will stay beside me
and hold my hand
while I make my own discoveries.
And then, when all this is over,
Lord help me to remember two things:
To say “Thank you,”
and to be a friend
with a big warm hug
to someone else in pain.””
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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