Saturday, June 30, 2012

::Near. Able. Willing.::

"I will do for you all that you have asked." ~Boaz to Ruth
The pages of Scripture are vitally alive. Pages 222 through 224 of my little ESV are ink pressed to paper. Bound and still. But taken in by these eyes, at this moment, and applied to this heart, they speak. They burn and prod. They bathe and mend. They pose questions that demand a response.

Ruth. Boaz. Names attached to people who lived stories. Who lived good stories. If hearing is not enough, but doing reveals the hidden alliances of our hearts then these two hearts were evidently undivided and wholly sworn to their God. And loyalty breeds likeness. Patterns emerge.

Near. Able. Willing.

Three words. Three positional points of reference on the maps of our spiritual battle-plans. A triune call to splay out our fingers wide in the spaces we've been placed. Striving to the ends of our fingertips to catch hold of someone. Anyone. To hold. To save. To make free.

Boaz. A man who caught hold of a lost woman.
Near. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. {Ruth 2:8}
Able. Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours?{Ruth 3:2}
Willing. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. {Ruth 3:11}

Ruth. A daughter who caught hold of a grieving mother.
Near. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. {Ruth 1:16}
Able to walk away. Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? {Ruth 1:11}
Willing to stay. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. . . Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. {Ruth 1:16}

Jesus. Redeemer who caught hold of of us all.
Near. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-- {Hebrews 2:14-15}
Able. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. {Heb. 7:25}
Willing. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. {Mark 10:45}

The other. Empty-handed redeemer of none.
Near. . . .there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. {Ruth 3:12}
Able. "If you will redeem it, do so. . . For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.” {Ruth 4:5}
Unwilling. . . .the kinsman-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” {Ruth 4:6}
This must be one of the most tragic ways for a Christian to spend her life: In the right place with the right resources but without a willing heart." ~Minter
It is the unwillingness, in the end, that has our fingertips catching only empty air. The near and able, who are us all, grow distant and powerless, despite the thrum of and call of the Spirit within. We are reduced. Stripped of our unearthly-shine. Our presence here made inconspicuous. Creatures of purpose dressed as wallflowers. Pressed up against earthly fixtures whose seeming-solidity bring comfort that will not last.

We are the Near. We are all near wraiths outside the light. Draw nearer still.
We are the Able. We've all been poured into by our Maker. Imprinted with power to make a catch. Have courage. God in and through us.
We are the Willing. Because none of this is about us anyways. All of the beauty and benefits of this life are tasted in the heat of God's hand, when we are being used.

I will do for you all that you have asked.
Personal Note: I keep discovering no-entry zones in my life where I will not go. I am near. I am able, in Christ. But I am not willing. And, frankly, I'm tired of tip-toeing around the perimeters of these old fears. And I'm tired of my rote tendency to employ self-preservative defensive tactics. Basically, I'm super-exhausted of going to accomplish something of worth, but finding me barring the way.