Friday, September 9, 2016

GFA day 8. Ruth's story: 'You Should Have Been a Boy!"

A different Ruth story.  Day 8 of the 40 day challenge concerns a young woman named Ruth. There are some similarities to the biblical story—Ruth, much like Naomi, leaves her land and returns, and it was because of a famine, just not the kind of famine that the Biblical Naomi and Elimelech experienced. In scripture, Naomi leaves a legacy: she figures in the genealogy of Jesus.   Today’s Ruth is also leaving a legacy through which many people are blessed, but there’s much more to the story.
            In the US today, and in many other places there is a push to let people choose their sexual identity. Many countries have legalized same sex marriages, laws have been passed protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination when it comes to employment and housing, and now the fight is on to let people use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. We have men saying ‘I don’t belong in this body, I’m really a woman’, or girls crying out, ‘I should have been a boy’.
            My heart breaks for these people, I want to help them through their pain, but I don’t believe that God makes mistakes. With today’s freedoms, young people, at the age when they are becoming sexually active or curious are making choices, which may or may not be the life choices that they should be making.  I want to be able to identify sin as sin, and as much as I might love the people involved I also want to love them enough to name that sin.
But sometimes it’s not just someone self-identifying as the opposite gender from which they were born. Sometimes someone else tries to make that call, to blame them for not being born 'right". Consider, for example, a young girl named Ruth.
Ruth’s parents live in South Asia, they live in an agrarian society, and sons are welcome additions to the family. Sons will marry and bring a dowry to the family, his wife will help care for his parents in their old age, and the sons will work the fields and carry on the family name. So imagine the disappointment when Ruth, another daughter, was born. A daughter who would marry and move to her husband’s home, a daughter who would one day require a dowry. A daughter who wouldn’t be of any help on the family farm. A daughter born after her father had sold property to make an offering to the local priest so that he would pray for a son.
Ruth grew up feeling unloved, and finally, as a young girl, had the courage to ask her father why. His response: you should have been a boy. And then her father stopped talking to her. And finally, shunned by her father, Ruth, like Naomi in the Bible, left her home, just not with a husband, and not because of a lack of food. Thanks to women missionaries she had learned about Jesus, and become a Christian. She left as part of the bride of Christ, and she left because of a different type of famine: a spiritual famine in her father’s house, and instead of a lack of food, a lack of love, a lack of joy, a lack of concern, a lack of caring. Famine drives people to look for nurture and sustenance in foreign places.
There’s a big difference between wanting to identify as the opposite sex from which you were born, and being told that you should be the opposite sex from which you were born. We can only imagine the pain and hurt that Ruth endured in this situation, but luckily she met some missionaries who shared the love of Christ with her. She left her home knowing that she was loved as a girl, and that she really shouldn’t have been a boy. That God created her as a woman, a woman who could know his love and share it with others.
And then the something happened and Ruth was called back to her home. Her father had become a Christian, and was ready to accept her as a girl. So she left her home because of a spiritual famine, and when the famine was over, she returned home. Her father greeted her with a hug instead of a kick, and after years of separation, they were reunited.

But there’s more to the story. During her time of exile she matured in her faith, and often shared the gospel with others. Today she works in a Christian school, impacting many others for Christ. The story is sad, but it has a happy ending. See for yourself here .

Women missionaries, women like Ruth and many others are doing great works for God today, but there is still a lot to be done. Please pray about how you might further God's kingdom in Asia. 

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