A Garment And Wings

He asked her, “Who are you?” She answered, “I’m only Ruth, your servant. Spread the edge of your garment over your servant, because you are my related redeemer.”  Ruth 3:9

God never meant for any of us to live in the center of tragedy.  It goes against the very reason we were created; to worship God and to behold His glory.  To go down to the deep, away from the heights of God’s glory, is to subject our soul to dark plots and despair.  If our eyes focus on nothing but sad things, how can know joy in the midst of pain?

I’ve been feasting on the beautiful love story in the book of Ruth.  Her life had taken some dark turns and loss had become her companion.  With no husband, no heritage, no children, and living in a land as the most vulnerable of widows, she looked up from her circumstances long enough to to cry out to the one who could redeem her story.  She approached Boaz in an outrageous moment, as he was sleeping on the threshing floor to protect his store of grain from being robbed.  She startled him, and then proceeded to ask him to spread the edge of his garment over her.  Symbolically, it was an intimate request.  To be under His garment, his tallit, was to be united to him in covenant love.  In Hebrew, the account reads like this ~ ‘she pulled his wing over her.’ The four corners of a Jewish man’s tallit symbolizes being under God’s wings.

Jesus’ tallit, his shawl and outer garment, was touched by many who were sick and they became well.  He spread his garment over Jairus’ daughter and raised her from the dead.  The woman with the issue of blood, a woman who was ceremonially unclean, entered the crowd in an attempt to just touch the fringe of Jesus’ tallit. In doing so, Jesus felt spiritual power go out of Him and the woman was healed.

In the aftermath of our son’s death, a death that came in a most horrific way, it is easy to get pulled into the darkness of the plot.  We need to grieve but we are not to grieve without hope.  We are not to dwell in perpetual darkness where we rehearse the tragic event until it overwhelms us.  God’s tallit beckons.  He offers to lift us up out of the darkness and then hide us under His wings where there is protection, perspective, and healing.  Near to Glory Himself, the darkest story is being transformed into a narrative of redemption.

David said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, I shall cry to You from the end of the earth; lead me to the cliff that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower against the enemy.  I shall stay in Your tent forever: I shall trust in the cover of Your wings.”  Psalm 61

There is an invitation to dwell in God’s tent, in the cover of His wings.  In doing so, we are lifted out of tortuous thoughts to praise our Healer and Redeemer.  He lifts us up to the cliffs, away from the carnage of the valley, where the billows of His wings descend upon the shoulders of the afflicted.  The cacophony of this world gone awry subsides. A holy calm invades to drown out the storm.

I am under Your wings, listening to the music of Your promises.  There are no hopeless tears, Jesus.  They are the faith-filled groans for redemption.  Amen


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