Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: Awaiting His Choice
By Patricia Turner
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He’d kept returning to the road, seeking to discern her footsteps in the sand. Finally one day his mother had reminded him. "Bo, you must set your sights on God and wait patiently on Him. He knows the plans He has for you. Let Him heal your heart and guide your steps."
Turning to the administration of his father's business, Bo found solace in the hard work. The Lord blessed the labor of his hands, prospering his father's fields, and eventually his own as well.
As years passed, youthful desire gave way to mature faith.
Yet he still found his eyes drawn to the east, to the direction she had gone, wondering what had become of her. And when he thought of her his heart still leaped with a hope that refused to be denied. No other woman stirred the same passions, though as his wealth grew, many sought his favor. He never took a wife, trusting the Lord with that choice.
"Lord, you know the desire of my heart. It’s Your will upon which I wait," he prayed.
Then one day she returned. Unbearable tragedy had befallen his beloved over the many years of her sojourn in another land, and in her bitterness she wished only to be called Mara. Bo, known to all as Boaz, looked upon her from a distance, but did not approach her, though his heart broke for the pain that had come upon Naomi.
One day he rode to his field closest to Bethlehem to see how the work progressed. Greeting and blessing the workers, Boaz dismounted from his horse. A young woman with dusky skin was gleaning at the edges of the field. "Why should I take notice of her," he wondered. Yet he asked his foreman "Whose is that young woman?"
"Her name is Ruth, the Moabitess who returned with Naomi, my lord."
Gossip surrounded the young woman, yet the story was told of how she turned from her own people to follow Naomi her mother-in-law and Naomi’s God. The foreman told these things to Boaz. He also told him how hard Ruth had worked all day in the field.
Beckoning the young woman to come close, Boaz saw the gentleness in her eyes and the humility with which she carried herself. Unaccountably, his heart soared as it had for only one other woman.
"She is young," he rebuked himself. "She will not have eyes for an older man like me."
Concealing his thoughts, Boaz spoke in a fatherly fashion to Ruth, giving her instructions and promising his protection, asking her to glean only in his field. As she left, he sent a blessing of grain with her to Naomi.
Ruth returned to his fields every day until the harvesting of the barley and wheat were finished.
His growing awareness of Ruth made Boaz avoid the field where she gleaned.
“Lord, I’ve waited too long for a wife of your choosing. Why now these confusing feelings for one who could be my daughter?”
One day Boaz came around a corner and encountered Naomi. She lowered her eyes from his and her face brought back memories.
“A word with you please, my lord,” she addressed him formally.
“Speak, Naomi,” he said gently.
Naomi got right to the point.
“I’m selling the piece of land that belonged to Elimelech. As my husband’s close relative, you have the right to redeem it. If ever I have found favor in your eyes, Boaz…” She lowered her voice to barely a whisper, lowering her eyes again.
His mind reeled. To redeem the land, would make Naomi…and Ruth…his!
Knowing she’d never really be his, Boaz searched his heart, finding there only compassion for Naomi. And Ruth…how could he bind the maiden to an old man?
“There is another who is a closer relative, Naomi. I must also ask him.”
Boaz took his leave of Naomi, assuring her that he would give consideration to her request.
"Lord, I’ve waited patiently," he beseeched. “Guide my foolish heart.”
Yet the thought of Ruth's lovely face and winsome ways held him spellbound all through the evening while he supervised the winnowing of the barley.
He awoke suddenly realizing his feet were cold. A woman was there!
“Who are you?”
“I am Ruth, your maidservant.”
“Be still my heart; wait patiently upon the Lord,” Boaz prayed, though his heart was singing.
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