What comes to mind when someone tells you to wait? Whether it’s at the bank, in your job (for that long-overdue promotion) or for The One to come along and profess undying love (admit it, you started wishing at age 12 and haven’t stopped since) – waiting often comes with a tinge of anxiety.
Waiting has become a norm in my life these days. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent significant parts of my day in hospital waiting rooms and treatment areas. Usually I come prepared with reading material, craftwork, and my laptop. The other day, though, I got detained unexpectedly, and I have to find creative ways to pass the time. It’s difficult for me to just sit still and watch the hours tick by. As such, I’ve developed a habit of making most of whatever time has been given me – especially when waiting.
Finding things to do on a day to day basis is one thing – but what about waiting out seasons in life? I realise I should be equally intentional about my personal development in this period of waiting-to-be-married.
Having recently finished reading Ruth again, I’ve picked up important lessons in becoming the woman who is fit to be redeemed (and wed).
- Desire to have God in your life.
When Naomi decided to go back to Israel, Ruth clung to her mother-in-law, and declared – Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Ruth followed God and built up her own faith in the God of Israel. What was someone else’s became her own. The most important ingredient in a Christian woman’s readiness for marriage is the level of intimacy she has with God. Cultivate a habit of spending time with him daily.
- Prioritise family. Honour your elders.
Ruth loved Naomi and followed her back to Israel. She made sure to provide for her mother-in-law. She sought Naomi’s permission when she decided to find work (Ruth 2:2). Ruth put her mother-in-law’s welfare and opinions above her own. She showed sacrificial love and filial piety. One of the best ways to prepare for a life of marriage is to love and to serve the family you have now.
- Get your hands dirty; work hard. Stay grounded and humble.
First day on the job, and the man in charge had this to say about Ruth – She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers. ’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” (Ruth 2:7)
Ruth’s strong work ethic earned her the respect of Boaz and the rest of the town. Her humility made her character even more outstanding and praiseworthy. A woman who succeeds at work and still remains down-to-earth will always be an asset to anyone who marries her.
- Manage your assets responsibly.
So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied.
Ruth not only carefully measured out what he had gleaned, she also set aside whatever food was leftover from her lunch. Learning how to save and stretch your finances is always a good thing. Your future husband will thank you for being conscious of your spending.
- Obey those in authority.
When instructed by Naomi to lay at Boaz’s feet, she obeyed. In fact, she did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. (Ruth 3:6) A woman who can submit to her parents and her bosses will have no trouble submitting to her husband. That is what God (and your future spouse) expects. The earlier you learn this lesson, the less likely you will have conflicts in your married life.
- Know when to sit still and wait.
Ruth did what she was supposed to do, and then Naomi told her to wait. So she waited. The ball was in Boaz’ court; she didn’t pester him and ask – Well? Now what? She trusted that those who needed to do something will get it done. It’s not our job to second guess God, or our future husband. Relinquishing control and learning to wait is an important discipline to cultivate, and there is no better time than the time spent waiting for God’s chosen best.
In your season of singleness, start sowing the seeds that you will reap in the following season of marriage. May it be that our Lord makes the same declaration to you as Boaz made to Ruth.
And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.