ODJ: behold the plains

October 5, 2015 

READ: Ruth 1:1-17 

Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God (v.16).

If there be any value in scaling the mountains, it is only that from them one can behold the plains.”

Those sentiments resonate. I’ve climbed some mountains during my lifetime—some real and some metaphorical. Pressing on ever higher can be hard and lead to suffering. But at the peak we can catch a view of what’s been hidden, a beauty that’s now made plain. There we can rest and experience a mysterious peace and joy, finding that we’ve been enriched and awakened by the journey.

Ruth didn’t see the jagged, foreboding ridge at first. Life was good. But then, after just 10 years of marriage, her husband and brother in law died (Ruth 1:4-5). A mountain of pain and disappointment shadowed her path. She felt alone and vulnerable.

The journey up the side of her mountain had begun with grief. Then, because Ruth’s mother in law heard that the land of Judah was ripe with good crops—something that could help sustain them—Ruth left her family and homeland. Loss upon loss. A final, difficult rise in the path appeared: Naomi told Ruth and her sister in law to go back to Moab and not to follow her, for she was also a widow. Tears flowed as Naomi kissed the girls goodbye (v.9).

Ruth, however, stood tall on the mountain of pain and suddenly saw the ‘plains’. She saw what she should do—stay with Naomi and place her faith in God (v.16). The journey up the peak had led to a mountaintop experience of knowing and embracing the God who loved her.

Like Ruth, you too may be facing problems that loom like jagged peaks. Keep staying the course with your eyes on Christ. Soon you’ll “behold the plains” . . . the good God has planned for you.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: Acts 1:1-11

Read John 16:33 and see why we can experience peace even when mountains of pain come our way. 
What painful challenge are you facing right now? What ‘plain’ of hope and goodness is God bringing into view?