Saturday, August 20, 2016

My daily confession

I would like to pause here and indulge my readers with a wee bit of my reading passion.  Once or twice a week, I sludge through a book for many chapters before I think, "Why?  I am not enjoying myself."  Reading a book you really don't care for is like doing housework with a fifty pound toddler latched on to each leg.  Last week it was perhaps three books out of the seven or so I read each week that I quit in the middle.  However, once I find an author I like, I seek out more of her writings. 

Have you ever had the problem of trying to read a book while you are laughing so hard that you keep closing your eyes with tears pouring out: read, laugh so hard the eyes close, then try to read some more through blurry tears of laughter.  Well, I did one night while reading in bed.  It's a good thing my husband was out of town is all I can say.  It was because I discovered witty Beth Moran, a British authoress, who deals with social problems with grace and humor, and of course, romance.  I especially liked "I Hope You Dance."  Then I found her other books, "The Name I Call Myself," and "Making Marion."  These have only a slight brush up with spirituality, but are still a good read without being too heavy.

Then I read a strange book indeed, one I liked, then didn't like, then liked even more towards the end
 in its retelling the story of Ruth in the Bible.  It's called, "A Little Irish Love Story," by Amy Fleming.  It's near the end of the novel when she gives a sermon by the rector that was beautifully written, and worth repeating, so here it is...

"...The book of Ruth is very dear to my heart...In the midst of battles, miracles, lists of names, and hundreds of rules, is nestled a slim group of stories abut love within the Bible.  They are few, small, and easily missed, yet we gravitate toward them, memorizing them when we're children.  These stories were written and recorded by the Holy Spirit.  Why in the world would the Holy Spirit care abut love stories?  Why not simply read the genealogy and be done with it?  Why are these stories even in the Bible?...It's because our stories...Each of our stories is a love story, a divine romance.  As long as each of us has waited to find love, some still wait.  However, nothing compares to the amount of time God has waited.  If we believe He's infinite and always existed, then think about infinity before the earth began.  That's how long He longed for us.  That's  a lot of time to ache for someone  It's a lot of time to wait."

"Then, after an eternity of longing, He picks out a very small portion of the enormous expanse of time and space, and He begins...He begins by singing.  He sings, 'Let there be light!' and feels the melody over His romantic dawning as we feel the melody in our souls when we experience the dawn as well."

"...Then, He began to make a beautiful home for His love.  He made each thing by hand, marveling at how she'd love each little animal and flower.  He knew in particular, I'd love Lily of the Valley.  I can see His smile and think of me as He's making the first one."

"Then, He stopped, took a deep breath and began to make a man who looked like Him.  I can see Him siting back watching His precious child daily and realizing His little boy had the same feeling of loneliness He had for so long.  Being the loving father He is, He decides to make a woman.  Then, He watches their love story unfold.  Still, somehow, even with His children around, He still longs.  What's He longing for?  He longs for His love, the Church which acts, talks, breathes, and moves in Him.  That's what He longs for."

"You can feel Him dream about His love to come as we see the saturation of His prophetic future in each of those beautiful romances in the Old Testament.  You can particularly feel His longing in the book of Ruth.  This book is my favorite.  What's so interesting about this story is it begins not as a romance, but as a deep, true friendship between an older woman and a younger.  You can feel Ruth's tears when she says, 'Don't ask me to leave you, for where you go, I'll go.  Your people will be my people and your God, my god.'  That's where this story begins, with their devotion to one another."

"Then, Ruth takes the most humble position she can find.  She must support Naomi at all costs.  She's basically a beggar, the lowliest of workers: a gleaner.  She picks up the refuse the workers in the field leave behind.  Then, she takes home her sparse strands of wheat to the round, bake, and serve them to her dear friend, Naomi.  What's beautiful about this is the most eligible bachelor in all the land, a prince of Israel, notices her.  She must've been quite striking to be noticed by him.  Remember, she was a beggar."

"Can you see Jesus wanting to jump out of His throne as He watches!  He gets so excited at this point. 'Yes,' He says, 'that's how I found you, my beloved people.  You were beggars, but you're beautiful to Me!'"

"Then, Boaz blesses Ruth and tells his workers to leave handfuls of the wheat on purpose for her to gather.  This is where the romance begins: with generosity.  Isn't the Lord so generous with us?"

"Boaz, though is a shy man.  Ruth, in her boldness, decides to hurry things along and she sleeps at Boaz's feet after the harvest celebrations.  He's had too much to drink and she makes the excuse she's protecting him; however, it's actually a marriage proposal.  In those days, when a younger woman uncovered the fee of an older man and slept crosswise from him, she was signaling she wanted him to marry her!"

"I can see Jesus now getting so involved in this story.  He wants us to want Him in such a way.  He's longing for the day we want Him to come into our hearts and become His!  Yet, like all love stories, there's a problem.  The problem is there's another man in town who is closer in relation to Naomi and the law said he must have first grabs at Ruth.  So, Boaz goes to the man and the man says he's all for it when he hears he can have this beautiful woman, Ruth, as his wife and all the property her father-in-law used to own in Israel.  Until, of course, he realizes marrying Ruth is actually a bad thing."

"Ruth is a foreigner and if he marries a foreigner, he has to give up his inheritance.  He quickly does the math and decides it is not in in his best interest.  However, Boaz doesn't think about his best interest.   He only thinks about Ruth, whom he loves.

"Jesus has done the same for us.  He has never thought of His best interests.  The only thing He acts upon is our best interest.  Isn't that romantic?  Do you hear His hear thumping as He watches their wedding day?  You can see Jesus, sitting on His throne, and then standing, craning His neck to see and hear the entire story take place."

"It reminds Him of what He's promised:  His love story with us.  He long for you and me!  The story reminded Him of His incredible love for us!  That's why it's in the Scriptures...Because He loves that story."

"May our lives be an example of His romance...May our love stories be like Ruth's...they show the world who He is.  When our hero slays the dragon and whisks us off to his castle, we feel it in our bones because it's our story.  He's our Hero, our Love."

"We must remember who we are.  We are His beloved.  We have been adored, longed for, cared for more than any of us can ever imagine.  We are His."

Well, that was a lovely piece in the middle of a fictional setting of WWII women, an older one and her daughter-in-law, fleeing London together to go back to the older one's homeland, Ireland.   Perhaps you'll want to read this romance too.

Alas, I stayed up past midnight, not reading like usual, but trying to find more books to read and frustrated only finding ones I'd already read.  It's like eating a pan of brownies then looking around for more cookies.  I'm a little book hog, I know.  I found several more this morning, so don't worry about me.  You'll know where to find me.

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