To be a Christian surfer means to be acquainted with God’s book, the Bible. The more you listen to God’s word, the more you soak in it, the more you discover this life that God wants to live in you and through you.
God’s word gives us many things: knowledge, wisdom, revelation and perspective. You see how God sees fit to show us the lives of some wonderfully imperfect people, who He then takes and loves and creates a ripple effect with.
Consider Ruth. It’s a four chapter book you can read in less than 30 minutes. There’s no surfing in this book, but a quick illusion to surf culture, which we’ll get to in a bit. Have you read this little story? It begins, not with Ruth, but with Naomi, a woman who's name means pleasant, but there is trouble brewing in this life. Not all is going right with her life. We discover in chapter one that she is a having a bad day.
You know you're having a bad day when you live in the period of the Judges and you think you can beat this terrible famine by moving 80 miles east.
And in doing so, you move into the land of your nation's enemies. And your spouse dies. And your sons are named "Sickly" and "Puny" (I’m not kidding—look it up)--they die too. It’s a sad, sad story. Could you blame her if she cried out “Where is God? Where is God in all of this?”
As she wipes her tears, Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem, her home town. She does so with one daughter in law, Ruth, who says I will be with you, come what may. As they make their way west and roll back into town, her old friends see her and can scarcely believe what they see. Naomi is visibly different. Wrinkled. Old looking. Beaten down. They ask “Can this be Naomi?” Her reply: Don’t call me Naomi, but Mara! She says this because mara is the Hebrew word for bitter.
Perhaps you've been there. You have lived some years. You've seen tragedy.
Amidst this dark backdrop, we get to know Ruth. She is humble, hard working, and faithful. You have people in your life like that, don't you? Do you notice them?
Boaz Notices. Boaz is a man who looks at what is true and beautiful. So who is a Boaz in your life, someone who saw and noted something?
Moving on, Ruth gleans in a field Boaz owns and when Naomi hears the news, she moves a step away from mara, to hope! Hope can be defined this way: "the confident expectation that God will take care of the future."
It’s clear that Boaz notices Ruth, but here's what you need to know. Boaz is an honorable man. Kind and generous, he cares for her protection, and makes sure she gets extra gleanings.
Keep in mind that He is an honorable man when you get to Chapter 3, where things might seems a little steamy! He’s celebrating the barley harvest. There’s much food and drink at these celebrations. All partied out, he sleeps at the grain pile and awakens to a surprise: Ruth with a marriage proposal.
Boaz continues to fullfill all righteousness. He goes to the elders at the city gate.
He offers the redemption of Ruth to the closer relative, who refuses. And then here comes our only allusion to a surfer’s life: A sandal is exchanged to seal the transaction. Don’t know if it was a Sanuk, a Reef or a Cobian. Just know that it was a sandal and just know we had to work this surfing angle in somehow!
And wedding bells begin to ring! And at the ceremony, the wedding gifts are the best kind: spoken blessings. The elders say to Boaz words of life and hope.
And then nine months later, a child is born: Obed. We come to find out he will be the father of Jesse, who will be the father of David. At the end of the story little Obed sits on Naomi's lap. Perhaps at that moment she thinks of those hard years in Moab, beginning with the death of her husband, then her two sons, and then the disgraceful return to Bethlehem. And all those memories are somehow erased within a matter of moments.
So what’s the point? Why the story? What does God want us to know? Well, on the surface, He wants us to know how the geneology of Israel’s greatest king plays out.
But look deeper. The message of God is clear, though the drama is simple: it’s a story of small people who face all the events of life. Making bad choices. Burying husbands, and even children. Having to start over again. Working hard. Behaving with honor. Risking in relationships. And then...falling in love. And having a baby.
The message of Ruth: You were meant to ripple. And your life always means more than you think it does!
And if you care to believe that, you are now well prepared to have your story intersect with the story of God. Now, you are prepared to make some waves.