Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good Read

I don't think there has ever been a book my Father-in-law has given me to read (or recommended) that I haven't liked, to a point where I was finding it hard to put down. The latest is no exception.

On Monday, he gave me the book The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn James. I started it that night and I am half way through it. I have always loved the book of Ruth, but have never really thought about or read about it like this. It's all falling fresh on me. I have been picking it up whenever I can.

If you had asked me what the book of Ruth was about before, I would have mentioned nothing about suffering in my description. However, the suffering is intense. So intense that Naomi is convinced that the Lord's hand has gone out against her (vs 13 of ch. 1) and changes her name to Mara because the Lord has afflicted her and made her life very bitter (vs. 20-21 of ch. 1). She has lost her husband and both of her sons. She is left a widow with no children. Talk about seeming unbearable. The author refers to her as a female Job.

Over the next week or so I will be occasionally posting certain paragraphs that have really stuck out to me. It will be hard to choose because this book is that good :

Somehow we've convinced ourselves that the more mature we become as Christians - and both Naomi and Job were seasoned believers - the thicker our spiritual skin will become. We'll be resilient in adversity. It's a sign of spiritual failure (so we tell ourselves) when suffering gets the better of us and our faith in God gets shaky. Such notions (which aren't supported by scripture, certainly not by the legacies of Naomi and Job) get in the way of our spiritual growth and block us from engaging the God who pursues us in our pain. To tell the truth, when the full force of our sufferings hit us, no matter how long we've walked with God or how much theology we've mastered, faith in God can take an awful beating. ~ The Gospel of Ruth, Carolyn James (p. 43)

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