Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Ruth said, ‘Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee….”
Ruth 1: 16
King James Version
“How to Live Your Life” by
Two Women Who Knew What They Were Talking About!
5 Characteristics of Ruth – The Daring Daughter- Part II
“Daring:” To have courage for the challenge. To confront with boldness.
Do I have a “daring” spirit to go where my Father leads?
“Courage can’t see around corners, but goes around them anyway.”
“How cool, how quiet is true courage.”
When my mother arranged for me to take piano lessons at the age of six, while my music teacher introduced me to composers like Chopin and Bach, it was at home where my mom, a fantastic pianist herself, introduced me to some easy children’s melodies like “Jesus Loves Me” and another song I still remember today, “Dare To Be A Daniel.” This was one of the first hymns I can remember playing as a youngster.
Not only did I like the tune, but I also loved the words:
“Standing by a purpose true
Heeding God’s commands…
…Dare to be a Daniel
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!”
Having learned to play this song on the piano, I then memorized the words. And I’ll never forget thinking, “I wonder what it means to be daring?” It didn’t take me long to find out that there were certainly some negative connotations applied to the word, “dare.” For example, a “daredevil” is considered to be someone who will take unnecessary risks. And in school, I don’t believe there are any of us who weren’t at one time or another, “dared” to do something to prove ourselves to another. With this background, I had a rather negative view of the word, “dare.’ Thankfully, the negatives were offset by my memories of the song “Dare To Be A Daniel.”
As I began to study what it meant to be daring, I quickly found I had a lot to learn. The word dare, at its core, means to be a person of courage. It means I am willing to confront change with a boldness in my heart.
I want to clarify one thing. To be a daring person doesn’t mean I will be without fear or pain. Just look at the sorrowful weeping that took place on a lonely desert road when Orpah, Ruth and Naomi parted ways. I recently read a most descriptive prayer that perfectly illustrates the point I’m making. It is called, “Transitions,” and was penned by Reverend Diane Moore who as a pastor, may well have understood the way one feels when being uprooted from one place to another. Here’s how she so vividly expresses her feelings:
“The diesel engine rumbles,
idling aimlessly outside my door,
telling the world
And especially my neighborhood
of my Transition.
Strange burly men
invade our home.
Wrapping treasured memories in layers
of protective paper preparing them for Transition.
The boxes on shoulders march out the door,
stripping our beloved house of all its home-ness,
returning it to its anonymity.
No longer home—
we have none today.
We are in Transition.
I am tear-misted, chest-tightened.
I cannot swallow a future
on some other cul-de-sac.
I’m leaving all the familiars.
Engines pull me farther, farther away.
AT&T, sprint, MVI,
They aren’t face-to-face, skin-to-skin.
They’re not the same as dreams and sorrows
shared over iced tea while children’s voices echo
they’re not the same as all the ordinary pleasures
that have marked my days here.
My head knows the Transitions mean
change. Opportunity, Growth, New Promise.
And isn’t that what life is all about?
But why, Lord?
Why does my heart ache so?”
If I had been Ruth and were leaving my family and friends and going to a country I didn’t know at all, I think I would have been hurting – big time!
But Ruth had a heart that dared to imagine a purpose for her life, laid out for her by her heavenly Father. What’s more, she didn’t choose to just visualize this future, instead she had the courage to act on the plan God had for her. Author, Leslie Weatherhead, also points out that courage doesn’t mean I am void of fear. Here’s her insightful perspective:
“Courage comes by doing courageous things when we want to run away…let us remember that a little child going upstairs to bed in the dark, and imagining all sorts of bogeys and horrors, often shows as much courage as a soldier whose impulsive dash during some peak of mental excitement wins (her) a medal for bravery. So let us, fifty times a day if need be, set before us a picture of the real God, utterly loving, whatever we have done, infinitely strong, resourceful and purposeful, finding this way for us when that way is closed for whatever reason, who will not allow us to be lost and defeated if we trust him, and who is generous beyond all thoughts of generosity. Let us commit ourselves to him every morning, for the real God is to be trusted, and whatever happens to us – called, as it may be by others, failure, catastrophe or defeat—we shall know that eternal love still bears us on its bosom, and that we shall find our way home without regret.”
As Ruth left Moab, who could blame her for being fearful. Who could call her out for being heart-broken at leaving those she loved. But beyond the pain and fear, Ruth, the “daring” daughter was willing to see through heaven’s eyeglasses a future she longed for – following God’s purpose for her life instead of her own. In his book, On Being Liked, author, James Alison, makes the observation that our Father loves us so much and desires the best for us in such stupendous ways, that He “dares and encourages” us to be “adventurous with Him” because our imagining and trusting our Father’s abundant plan for lives is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. Our Father really, truly has plans for us that we cannot believe! When Ruth walked out of Moab, do you think she really understood that the Messiah would come through her lineage? Who would have thought it possible? Only a God who loves everyone of His children, as He loves you and me!
“Let us plough new ground for ourselves where we can plant righteousness and justice. Help us to uproot pride so that humility may grow, even though the growing may be painful and the root growth unseen. Give us courage for the growing that we may grow tall in love and bear fruit in abundance for God’s glory and the good of the world. AMEN.”
Forward to the Promised Community
Prayer For The Daring
You call us on a journey to a place we do not know.
We are not where we started.
We have not reached our destination.
We are not sure where we are or who we are.
This is not a comfortable place.
Be among us, we pray.
Calm our fears, save us from discouragement,
And help us to stay on course.
Open our hearts to your guidance so that our journey
Unknown place continues as a journey of trust.
The Reverend Canon Kristi Philip
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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