The first half of Ruth 2 is beautiful, expressing two simultaneous truths: 1) God is completely sovereign over our lives, and yet 2) we are completely accountable before him. Nothing we do, or decide, or pursue will in any way shape or unravel the perfect purposes of God. Yet, God has given us means of grace by which we come to greater understanding of his ways, greater dependence on his strength, and greater joy in his service.
It is important to recognize that the Christian life can be a series of ups and downs, confidence and doubts. However, the faith that God gives us in Jesus Christ is (praise God!) not based on our feelings or even on our faithfulness. Neither is God’s love toward us. This is important to remember, because discouragement is one of the most effective tools in Satan’s bag of tricks. In times, however, when I find myself (or at least feel to be) spiritually cold, it helps when I get back to the basics Lombardi-style (“Gentleman, this is a football”).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2). This may be the hardest thing in the Christian life. It’s simple to understand, but seems impossible to do. How do you find joy during a battle with cancer? How do you rejoice when you can’t find a job or can’t kick an addiction; when you’re mocked for your faith; when all you want are your circumstances to change?