noticed a lady arriving just as the message began on Sunday morning. I didn’t recognize her but am always happy to see someone new coming to church. There were plenty of places to sit where most of us had gathered in the middle, but she sat off to the side, alone.
As she sat down, her shoulders jerked abruptly toward her chin and her head simultaneously twitched dramatically from side to side. It was hard not to notice as this repeated every 30 seconds or so.
The pastor was teaching, but I confess I had a hard time listening. The message was even on the Book of Ruth, one of my favorite Bible stories. All I could think about was this lady and her involuntary tics. “What must her life be like?” I wondered. “Does this happen all day long? Isn’t there medication?”
The pastor told a joke that made everyone laugh and snapped me back to attention. If you remember the story, both Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, were widowed and their lives had turned bitter. Ruth goes with Naomi back to Judah, but life does not improve. Desperate for food, Ruth follows harvesters picking up grain that had been left behind. It was what very poor people did and for a woman alone, it was dangerous.
he involuntary “tics” once again grabbed my attention. Each one seemed like an exact copy of the last. She seemed not to even notice. “How can she bear it?” I asked myself. “Can she hold a job? Is she all alone?”
Like a movie where a damsel in distress is rescued by a handsome prince, the folks in church sighed with hopeful anticipation when Ruth (who is not an Israelite) meets Boaz (who is an Israelite). I once again got caught up in the story as it worked its way to the incredible conclusion. As God so often does, He turned despair, tragedy and hopelessness into joy and blessings far beyond anything Ruth or Naomi could have ever imagined or hoped.
I turned to see if the visiting lady seemed encouraged by the message, but she was gone. I don’t know when she slipped out.
The service was ending and I looked around and saw a church full of people who no doubt were as filled with “tics” and flaws and afflictions as the lady who slipped away — starting with me. If others could see all my tics and flaws, I too, would slip in and out of places trying not to be seen.
Every Sunday, LOGOI’s ministry is represented by thousands of pastors and teaching leaders across the Spanish speaking world who despite their own sin and flaws, get to help others discover Jesus. Their churches are full of people just like you and me, the lady who slipped out early, and those facing great troubles like Ruth and Naomi. Consider how God is using your investments in His work to help others find Jesus and that He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
The story of Ruth could not have a better ending. Poor, widowed, hopeless and desperate Ruth is not only rescued, she joins the wonderful generational line of Jesus himself. Then, if that weren’t enough, her relative, Jesus, came to save you and me. Amazing!