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  • Writer's pictureKaren Pennington

God's Divine Repayment Plan

“May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” - Ruth 2:12

This is one of my favorite blessings in Scripture, spoken to a young widow who chose to continue a commitment to a poor older woman, one to whom she had no earthly obligation, over her own sense of earthly security. This is my desire for anyone and everyone who has ever given of themselves to make my life better.

I love this prayer, because throughout my life I have frequently found myself in the position of what I might call "forced receiving," that precarious position wherein I was in great need of help and had nothing other than my gratitude and prayers such as this to offer in return for the generosity and self-sacrifice of others. This state of forced receiving challenges me greatly; I would much rather always be the one with the time, financial means and sanity to give to others. Forced receiving shatters my illusion of control and starves my addiction upon my own self-righteousness. That sounds wonderful, but in the moment it usually feels pretty horrible. Nobody ever really asks or wants to feel broken. But sometimes it takes the breaking of things (divine surgery) to reach the true healing and growth.

Perhaps this is the truest definition of poverty of spirit: when we reach the point wherein we finally realize that our own earthly resources just simply are not enough to meet our needs. Then we reach out to God in desperation, clinging to anything God will give as our very life and breath. Then we can finally realize that God is enough, and everything. The state prepares us to better see God in others, to better receive God from others. Rather than being our last resort, God becomes our only resort. We can learn to receive gifts with gratitude (never entitlement), praying for God to increase the blessings of the giver. People become holy vessels to us, as both extensions and outlets for God's grace. Any situation becomes an instrument of God, because God can use anything.

The person who originally prayed this prayer was Boaz, a man of means who had not received anything from Ruth. In fact, she came as a beggar, gleaning from his fields. Ironically, by eventually marrying her Boaz became the very blessing to Ruth for which he had prayed.

In some ways I often feel more like the poor beggar gleaning the fields, grasping desperately just to meet my family's most basic needs after multiple losses. Today I speak this prayer as Boaz, from the wealth of love God has placed in my life through others. Not only do I pray for God to repay tenfold anyone who has ever given to me. I desire to be part of that blessing.

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