When Ruth became a Christian, she made a choice. She did not get brainwashed or cajoled or drafted into it.
She had been a seeker for many years as she was always desiring of a relationship with a Higher Power. She believed that she was created and did not just suddenly appear inside her mother’s womb without explanation. She always felt special and loved even when her life was treating her very differently.
When she welcomed Jesus into her heart, she bore witness to many occasions when Jesus came up victorious in her life. Throughout her struggles, she prayed and humbled herself and stood on the Word of God and His promises to give her the strength to withstand the suffering. She had grown significantly in her faith until the downturn in the economy that was now threatening to bring down her business a second time. This time, she had been faithful and had done everything right. She did not understand why cash flows were so strained.
One Sunday at church, the women’s ministry Pastor called the congregation to a week-long fast to pray for sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being made holy by God. It is a gift bestowed by God to set apart someone for a God ordained purpose. Without much consideration, Ruth obediently decided to take up the challenge. She decided to fast breakfast and even thought it would be a good way to lose weight. That week, she started to develop an unsettling fear that her economy might actually just continue getting worse. She had never considered that possibility previously and it came as a surprise to her to imagine that she could endure such a level of suffering. She became anxious and disturbed at the beginning even though she fought hard to believe the promises of God over how things looked.
The month before, she had made just enough to pay what needed to be paid including the school fees and then continued on the same path of scaling down on her personal expenses as much as possible. She now wondered whether this season was here to stay and started to pray earnestly that even if things dont improve, they should by no means get worse. She was fine with remaining where every month she just made enough. She could not imagine making less than that. Some expenses were accumulating to a level where she could not ignore them any longer and the pressure was rising. In addition, she had a health scare that week.
Her only hope for a good outcome from the week of fasting came when she attended a Christian seminar at the end of the week and gained a wealth of knowledge. She also experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on her at the end of the seminar as God reassured her that all was well.
While at the seminar she purchased a small book on the prayer of Jabez. She was always fascinated by the prayer of Jabez and thought Jabez to be the kind of role model that she would love her boys to follow. When she saw the books displayed for sale, she went over to the desk to look for a children’s book. She found the prayer of Jabez books for kids, for teens and for adults. She purchased 3 copies for herself and her children.
Prayer of Jabez – 1 Chron 4:9-10 – “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your Hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”