14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
A time of fasting so often seems to be about what you are “giving up” for the purpose of drawing closer to God. However, there as you enter any time of consecration, you will discover that sometimes it is not you giving things up, as much as it is God removing things from you.
The idea that you can not reach your full potential without leaving some things behind is not a new one. In fact, one of the most quoted verses in the New Testament tells us we must be prepared to lay aside things that will hinder us.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
So, we read the verse and begin to search our lives for all the “things” that are a hindrance to our walk with God. It will not take long for you to discover that as you draw closer to God there are things that will begin to fall out of our lives. Some things will go quickly, others will take time, but as your focus moves toward God, you will find yourself simply losing the desire to engage in the things that have taken you from His will for your life.
However, drawing closer to God will not just have an effect on things, habits, and activities in your life. Drawing closer to God will also result in you seeing some people drop out of your life. This is one of the hardest parts of following God; there are some that you love and feel connected to that simply will refuse to grow deeper in God with you. Thus, you will find yourself growing away from them. Friendships become acquaintances and what once were fervent relationships grow distant.
This is painful and often you ask yourself why this must be. However, understand there are some who will refuse to walk with you as your grow closer to God. It is always difficult to know that your journey deeper will separate you from someone.
Harder still to deal with, are those who like Orpah will join you in your journey for a time. Then, they will determine they do not want to go all the way, and they will turn back in the midst of the process. These are no doubt the most painful, because you had believed in their commitment during the time you grew together.
As you grow closer to God, habits will change, activities will change, and yes, the people in your life will change.
Friend, do not be discouraged. Delight in the Lord. He is your strength.
Ruth, don’t you give up just because Orpah did!
Proverbs reminds us “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
The psalmist wrote: When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take me up. –Psalm 27:10
and remember Jesus said “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20