“Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.” –Ruth 1:6
My husband noticed my disconnect with my immediate surroundings. While my kids busied themselves with the lunch buffet at CiCi’s Pizza, I was busy with my thoughts, feeling the depths of a hunger that couldn’t be satisfied by a slice of pepperoni. My hunger went deeper than theirs.
“Hello . . . Elaine . . . where are you? Aren’t you going to eat?” So asked my husband once we were seated at our table. I didn’t directly answer his questions. Instead I simply offered up this declaration: “When we finish here, Billy, we need to go the Lifeway Store. I need to get something.” He didn’t offer any objections (he never does); he simply nodded his understanding and his willingness to take care of my deeper hunger.
Hunger. I’ve been noticing mine for a few weeks. A yearning to be filled with something more than the temporal. A yearning to be filled with God’s Word. On Sunday, I spent the church hour with a few children, trying to define God’s Word. We made scrolls, wrote down some words on parchment to better help us understand the witness of the Bible. God’s Word . . .
- is flawless (Ps. 12:6),
- is living and active (Heb. 4:12),
- is right and true (Ps. 33:4),
- is life (John 6:63),
- is not-chained (2 Tim. 2:9),
- is near (Deut. 30:14),
- never fails (1 Kings 8:56),
- heals (Ps. 107:20),
- runs swiftly (Ps. 147:14-16),
- never passes away (Luke 21:33).
We had a fun time discovering what God’s Word is, a good learning for young minds. A good learning for older minds as well, especially if it sticks—if it causes minds, young and old, to make a change in behavior.
Twenty-four hours later, with these words in mind (especially words like “near” and “runs swiftly”), I made a trip to the Lifeway Store where I knew my soul would find nourishment. I needed a Bible study, a structured way of engaging my heart with God’s Word. Normally, I know what I’m looking for when I head into this Christian bookstore, but not this time. Instead, I simply perused the shelves, believing that the right study would make itself known to me. It did. This is what I purchased. Ruth: loss, love, and legacy by Kelly Minter. Why this selection?
Honestly, I like the cover, especially the red shoes. Oh, and the suitcase (you know I’m all about the journey). And the way the book feels in my hands? Well, it feels special, soft and crinkly in just the right places (don’t tell me a cover isn’t important). And it is six weeks in length, not video driven, and most importantly, this study requires me to do some digging and some writing. It really doesn’t matter to me the biblical subject matter; what matters to me is my engagement with that subject matter. I won’t absorb a book written about Ruth as much as I will a study that requires my participation.
And so, Ruth and I will be spending some time together over the next few weeks. Yes, it was a random purchase, but after two lessons, I’m convinced that it’s a good fit for my heart in this season. Already, I’m swept away by Naomi and Ruth’s return to Bethlehem (a word meaning “bread”) for bread . . . for food to fill their stomachs that would end up filling their souls.
I am not so unlike my spiritual ancestors. I, too, need bread for my soul, and so I return to the one place that I know will fill me up to overflow. I return to God’s table, to Jesus and his Word—the bread of heaven that sustains my heart for the journey forward. God’s Word is near and runs swiftly to my need. It’s near you as well and is ready to fill the hungering ache within.
Are you studying God’s Word this summer? If not, why not? What do you love most about Bible study? What is God teaching you through his Word? This is not a time to shrink back in our faith, friends. This is a time of sacred investment. I encourage you to find a good study, grab the Good Book, and steal away to a quiet place reserved for just God and you. Allow the life-giving, active, flawless, unchained, healing, and never failing Word of God to feed you, transform you, strengthen you, and enliven you for the walk of faith.
There’s no time like the present time to have a meal with the King! He’s made a place at the table for you this day. As always…
Peace for the journey,