By Liz Curtis Higgs
Random House (2012)
Guest Review By: Kim Davis
“If only we could jump into a time machine!” writes popular speaker and author Liz Curtis Higgs. “Instead of simply reading about biblical history, we could live it. Rather than merely studying maps and books, we could see, touch, and experience that long-lost world firsthand. Wouldn’t that be something?” Yes. I jumped in Doc Brown’s DeLorean with Marty McFly, and I rode the roads of Ruth.
How do we travel? With half of the reader sitting in the seat of Biblical context and the other half in 2013 application, life and Scripture intertwine. Honest questions emerge, such as what do we do with the problem of pain in Ruth’s life and ours? Many “aha” moments occur as the author flies through history, linguistics, geography, culture, and psychology with the navigational skills of an explorer, poet, comedian, researcher, and novelist. The trip transcends time. This book scripts a journey for individual meditation, as well as providing a guide for Bible study groups and global discussion questions for book clubs.
Who journeys with us? God. He reveals His plan for both Ruth and readers. The author shares snapshots of her experience: “But in the early days of my marriage, I was so worried about staking my claim on my man, about having Bill all to myself, about raising our kids our way (Okay, my kids my way), I barely cracked open the door of my heart to my mother-in-law.” Some readers nod, but Ruth’s devotion demonstrates the loyalty and care divinely desired of all relationships. “Be ready for a gentle (or not-so-gentle) nudge from the Holy Spirit. Ruth’s sacrificial love sets a high bar, though it’s nothing you and the Lord together can’t handle.”
While Liz has done extensive research by consulting over two dozen scholars, she presents interpretive options for personal rumination. She includes sentence prayers and examples of “Ruth[s] in Real Life” to prod the jet-lagged traveler. She also provides thought-provoking phrases along the way, such as “Stay in Bethlehem? Risk starving their bodies. Move to Moab? Risk starving their faith.”
This author knows her audience. She writes for women about women. Although men can still purchase passports to this estrogen island, the book targets a feminine clientele.
My trip through this book transformed my approach to my Naomi. I now call my “mother-in-love” every Wednesday morning. I also plan to use this book for my weekly Bible study group. Returning customers signify a great travel experience.