Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ruth's Gamble

Ruth chapter 3
God provides for those who act on faith and act righteously.
Ruth 3:1-8 Most don’t know this but way down deep in an archeological dig in Israel they discovered an ancient newspaper several thousand years old. It was a small fragment but they found this on it. “Dear Abigail, my widowed daughter-in-law has found a very nice man who is a bit older than her but she really likes him a lot. And he is a fine man who treats her like a princess. He seems to really like her but he won’t take their relationship to the next level, and he ain’t getting any younger. What can I do to get him to fish or cut bait? Signed, Baffled in Bethlehem.” Now it looks like Abigail wrote back but her letter was never found.
OF course they didn’t have newspapers back then, but I would really like to know where Naomi got this crazy scheme for Ruth to follow; it just might have been from God!
Chapter 3 is like the third act of this great play written by God. At the end of Chapter 1 Naomi felt empty and forsaken by God but by the end of Ch 2 she is praising God for His goodness. She went from hopeless to hopeful. You know when you feel hopeless you don’t even try to figure a way out of your mess. It’s just too hard and there’s no hope for success anyway. But when someone gives you hope you begin to think about what God might do for you, especially if you’re willing to step out in faith.
1 Naomi: Scene 1 opens with Naomi’s counsel.
The first four verses of this chapter just have so much hope. But the funny thing is you could see this plan going terribly wrong in many ways. I don’t know how long Naomi thought of this, maybe several weeks, or maybe the Lord gave her this idea that very day.
But think about it, Ruth is to go to the threshing floor too hide. What if she is found hiding wearing lipstick and perfume, what will they think of her? Now when Boaz goes to his sleeping bag she has to get over to him without waking anyone else up, uncover his feet and then lay down there near him. Several things could go wrong here. She could step on one of his servants in the dark. She could accidently uncover the feet of the wrong fellow. Or the plan could backfire in the wee hours of the morning if Boaz wakes up and thinks that Ruth has some really different intentions. But in spite of all that, Ruth tells Naomi she will do what she has been told.
Now the scene changes to the Threshing floor and Ruth.
There’s Ruth all cleaned up and wearing some Chanel #5, but it might not be what you think. Remember it hasn’t been long since she lost her husband. It was typical for a widow to spend time in mourning. But when a man or a woman is done with the grieving period, they wash themselves, anoint themselves with oil and perhaps a fragrance, and go about their business . So she’s not just making herself look attractive, she’s announcing that mourning is over.
One commentator points out that Ruth does 4 things. She is attractive, attentive, assertive, and available. She made herself attractive; she attends by watching to see where Boaz is going to sleep. She is assertive when he wakes up and asks who she is, and available to submit to whatever he suggests. But what a Bold move? It’s bold but there is no sin. She is still acting righteously.
There’s something very interesting about this story: There is no villain! The three main characters all want the best for others. Naomi wants Ruth to be provided for. Ruth wants Naomi to be taken care of in her later years. And Boaz is helping to take care of both of them without asking anything in return! This part could even be a comedy! But it seems God uses a wise old woman to get things rolling along.
Now why on earth would Naomi tell Ruth to uncover his feet?
Some say this was a customary way to show one is willing to be a servant, sort of saying I’ll be under your feet. Some say that she uncovered more than his feet and later on they were essentially under the covers together. Listen, the Bible never teaches that! In fact it teaches both Ruth and Boaz with great restraint and righteousness.
So Scene 2 fades to black after she uncovers his feet and lies down.
Scene 3 Boaz Awakes! As for me I think this is where we get the expression, “He got cold feet.” But it’s changed some over the years.
This is what happened, in the middle of the night Boaz’s feet get cold so he wakes up and that’s when he spots a woman lying near him. The fact that he has to ask who she is tells us there was no hanky-panky going on.
But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t put herself in a vulnerable position. In fact, isn’t that what a step of faith entails? When we step out in faith there is the possibility that things won’t go according to plan. But it appears that Ruth and Naomi trusted in God and also in the character of Boaz. Here she was an unattached lady that he apparently likes, it’s late at night, he’s been partying, who knows what might happen? But Boaz is a gentleman just as Ruth is a lady.
Look at v9. (read) Notice what she says to him. She makes it clear why she is there. She says at first I’m Ruth your servant. She ends with ‘you are the redeemer’. What did she mean by that? Under Jewish law there were two things in play here. The first is Levirate marriage. If a man died before his wife was pregnant, the man’s brother was to take her as his wife, but the first son she had would carry on the dead brother’s name. That’s found in Deut 25. But, there is another concept called the Goel, or kinsman-redeemer. Under the law the nearest relative could act on behalf of his brother or cousin in matters like paying off his debts or buying back his land. Ruth is reminding him that she is available to him under the law.
Now Boaz responds with “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter.” And he is really glad she is there. He liked her but thought of himself as too old and her as too young. He calls her daughter several times. There may have been 20 years difference in their ages. He’s glad she didn’t go after younger men.
But wait, I gotta go back to Ruth. After she says I’m Ruth, and before she says you are my kinsman redeemer, she asks him to cover her. I DON”T KNOW WHY most translations say cover me with your garment! The word is WING! It’s the same word we saw in chapter 2:12 when Boaz tells her, “May Jehovah repay your work, and may a full reward be given you from Jehovah, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust.”
Do you see what Ruth is saying? Not only have I come under the wings of God, I would like to be under your wing as well. What a nice way to ask him to marry you girls! You don’t really have to propose marriage; you can let him know you’d like to be under his wings! And Boaz got the hint. Look at verse 11 (read 11-13)
First He says, don’t worry, I gotcha covered! I will do ALL your requests. He knows this is more than just barley talk.
Then he tells her there is another kinsman that has to be dealt with. Then: If he doesn’t redeem you I will. As God Lives! Now lay down till morning. He is not about to send her home in the middle of the night, its dangerous.
BUT, he does something else. V 15, he gives her more grain so that she will not go home to Naomi empty handed. Now this isn’t just a nice gesture, He is sending Naomi a message. This is like a bride price, but he hasn’t dealt with the other kinsman yet.
Then the last scene: Ruth and Naomi again. (vv 16-18)
What a wise woman Naomi was. Wait till it’s a done deal! She knows that we do our part and then wait on God. Don’t presume to know exactly what he will do, just Trust and Obey, there’s no other way! But she was confident in the Lord and in the character of Boaz.
What do we learn from this?
First, when God gives us Hope, we begin to think about what God might do to provide for us. Listen, this church needs Hope again. God has not forgotten you or us! He is still blessing us!
Second, Ruth is ready to step out in faith, follow the counsel of her mother in law and make herself vulnerable. Sometimes, we step out in faith and discover that we didn’t quite see what God’s plan was or we missed the timing a little. That’s OK; God still honors your faith in Him. He’ll correct your course or you’ll get another opportunity, or God will work it all out anyway. Just don’t step out presuming on the Lord. Step out trusting Him.
Third, they let the sun come up on their righteousness. Sometimes in the dark we make the wrong decision. We fail and miss God’s best. This is not just for young people to stay pure before marriage, it’s for the man tempted to cheat on his taxes because dark financial times. It’s for the single mother tempted to put a couple of things in her purse and not pay for them because of dark times in raising a family.
If we will follow God’s plan, let the sun rise on our obedience to God, He can do great things with us. He can make this Moabite heathen into the god-fearing grandmother of King David, who will be the great great great etc. grandfather of Jesus Christ.
We don’t obey just because we want a blessing but because its right. But God blesses his children in obedience.
Let the Sun rise on your purity!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Under Eagle’s Wings

Book of Ruth Chapter 2

To understand Grace is to know God's Sovereign Providential Care.

In a world filled with Poverty and ethnic tension, two women, crushed by life, take advantage of a rich relative.

That’s how Hollywood would sell the Movie “Ruth.” Only they’d probably call it “Sleepless in Moab”, “Avatar: Israel” or “Gone with the Grain.”

But it is a classic story of Rags to Riches, of abandonment and redemption, of sacrifice and reward.

In this chapter we are introduced to a new character, but we also learn a little more about Ruth and Naomi.

All About Ruth: There are three things here that every young person should learn: Initiative, Humility, and Industry, which is a fancy word for Hard Work.

Initiative: Look at v. 2, whose idea was it to go to work? Naomi didn’t have to say, “I wish you would turn off that TV and go get a job.” Ruth volunteered, in fact she already had a plan, “This is what I’m going to do.” Now she submitted the idea to Naomi probably because she wanted to make sure this was acceptable in this country.

ill) Growing up the youngest of 4 kids, everybody else took care of the chores. I was probably 12 before I had to wash dishes, 14 before I had to mow the grass. Oh I was probably running the vacuum and taking out the trash earlier, but with older siblings I could hide and get away with it. But I had two friends close in age, Carl and Ken. Their dad was MIA in Viet Nam and presumed dead. So at 14 and 15 years old they were becoming the men of the house. I remember how they would jump up to help when momma came from the grocery store. So not wanting to look like a jerk I would jump up, too. They did chores without being asked and after a while it actually started rubbing off on me, and I started acting like that at home. Of course I was much younger then, had more energy. Now it takes a lot for me to get out of my recliner. But that’s what initiative looks like, and that’s also the best time to learn it.

Humility: Not only does she submit her idea to Naomi, look at v 7; She didn’t say I have a right to be here. She didn’t just assume the privilege. She didn’t have a sense of entitlement, she asked, “May I glean after the reapers?” That’s like asking a grocer “may I have the old cans of vegetables that you are throwing in the dumpster?” Listen, Humility goes a LONG way with God. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. We have a society with too much sense of entitlement. Some people even approach God like that. My car keeps breaking down but my neighbor has a new car. God, I deserve one too.

There are many hard working folks who don’t want a handout but we still have plenty who think that if someone else has something they should have it too. Where does God ever give us the right to have food and shelter? Listen this happens among Christians, too.

ill) Years ago I went to a Christian bookstore with a friend who was a Mexico Missionary. He was looking for Worship music in Spanish to learn new songs. The lady who owned the store showed him a dozen or so cassettes. My friend picked three and she said is that all you want. He said, “That’s all I can afford.” She was touched and gave him several more and didn’t charge him for them. Her husband came over and she told him and he was fine. But he had a pained look in his eyes so I asked him about it. He said so many people came in expecting something for free just because they are in ministry, we should give it away. But this is our living. This is how we feed our kids. It’s a pleasure to give when we feel like the Lord would be blessed with it, but it’s disappointing to be expected to.

That’s where Industry comes in. Back to verse 7, Ruth had started early and worked all day. Work doesn’t have to be a burden. Yes some jobs are unpleasant. I’ve swung and idiot stick in the heat of day, dug ditches. Listen, it’s hard to dig up a busted septic tank, in the heat of a Texas Summer and do it to the Glory of God. Young people, you should hear the stories of some of your elders about what it means to work and work hard, and at the end of the day to be thankful you have a job. That’s the kind of woman Ruth was.

Naomi Smiles: Skip down to v 17 Now if I was writing the Hollywood script I’d have Ruth saying, “Why didn’t you tell me you were related to Bill Gates? I come all the way to your hometown thinking we’re starving to death and your favorite nephew is rich!”

That’s not what she said of course. But look at what Naomi said in v 20. “May he be blessed of the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.” Who is Naomi praising here? God or Boaz? She is praising God. She asks God to bless Boaz, but it is God’s kindness that has not forsaken the dead- her husband and sons- or the living-Ruth and Naomi. It wasn’t easy to see in chapter 1 but Naomi was a woman of faith. I think she was a woman of faith in Moab. I think Ruth knew something of Naomi’s God way back when, because of Naomi. And now, in spite of how hard life has been she is praising God for His goodness.

But now let’s see the new character:

What About BOAZ: (vv 4-9, 14-16)

We learn some things about Boaz here, too.

First back in v1 it says Boaz was a worthy man. That means more than you may think. It means he was a powerful man of wealth AND Valor. Valor means someone who is strong in Spirit and brave.

Then, See how he greets his servants? “The Lord be with you.” That seems pretty mild but he didn’t have to say anything to them, except maybe work harder and faster. But we have a clue to a God-fearing man who treats others, even servants, respectfully.

Then see how he treats Ruth. He is very generous to her. Now, if this was Hollywood, it would be simply because she is another pretty Moabite face. It would be Matt Damon and some starlet and everyone would say, well of course he’s nice to her! But look at v10, Boaz is also a man of honor and compassion. All that is happening to Ruth is not because of Boaz, it’s the Blessing of God, under whose wings she took refuge. REMEMBER what she said to Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God MY GOD!”

Have you ever wondered WHY God is blessing you? Hardly a single believer hasn’t stopped and asked God, “Why did you show grace to me?” It’s a good question. It recognizes that the grace is because of the giver not the receiver. It acknowledges that the receiver isn’t worthy of this kind of grace.

Could it be you’re under the shadow of His wings?

This is not works based salvation. This is God rewarding the one who finds refuge in Him. Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and said, Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, I would have gathered you under my wings but you would not.”

Now it might look like to the casual observer that God is blessing her ONLY because she has been good to Naomi. That’s definitely part of it, but look back to Moab. Who brought Ruth and her husband together? Who helped Ruth come to know Naomi’s God? Who ended the famine in Israel? Who kept Boaz single and needing a wife? Oh and one more thing- look at v3; She “Just Happened to Come” to the field owned by Boaz. That is like one of God’s little jokes in the Bible. We know she didn’t Happen there by Chance. Chance never did anything. Chance is only a mental construct to explain odds. She happened there by the providence of God!

Look! Ruth has been under the providence of YHWH since before she ever heard of YHWH! And now that she has come under the wings of God, now that her faith is shown in how Ruth treats her mother-in-law Naomi, now that she is showing initiative, humility, and industry, God is not “Paying” her for being under His wings, He is rewarding her from the riches of His grace!

Think about sheep and a shepherd. Sometimes sheep stray. But as the sheep in the flock learn that the shepherd will lead them to green grass and still waters; and as they learn that he’ll protect them in the dark valleys, as they learn he knows when to take them from the waters to lie down a while and rest, they start sticking closer to the shepherd! That is the place of blessing, abundance, protection, and peace. Sometimes we walk in a dark valley where there isn’t much green grass, but there is still protection.

Are you sticking close to the shepherd? Are you part of His flock?

How do you become part of the flock? You have to be Born into it. There are no roaming herds of wild sheep to be domesticated like wild horses or wild hogs. Nope, you have to be born into the flock.

Jesus called it being Born Again. It’s saying to Jesus, “Your God will be my God” and then receiving Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Naomi's Perdicament

Even in affliction, See what God has done for you.

Believers, we should see God as both sovereign and compassionate.

As far as biblical women go, Esther is more popular than Ruth. Esther is a beautiful, Hebrew, Queen. There’s beauty, power, and being born in the right family going for Esther. Ruth is not Jewish, not a queen, and we don’t know if many people thought she was beautiful or not. Ruth’s husband dies young. Ruth’s mother-in-law is Jewish and tries to send her back to her own people.

Ruth and Naomi are practically homeless.

Now, Esther is a great story of course and its scripture. But it’s the story of someone who has it all and risks it all for her people.

The story of Ruth is the story of someone who didn’t have much to start with and DID lose it all. Esther is a story of courage. Ruth is a story of faithfulness, hard work, and the Goodness of God.

So we’ll save Esther for another time and look at the story of Ruth.

But Ruth’s story starts with a man named Elimelech.

Rth 1:1 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land. A man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, with his wife and his two sons. 2 The man's name was Elimelech, his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem... They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5 and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

Imagine yourself in ancient Israel. The Midianite people or perhaps the Philistines have been invading every year and burning your crops just before the harvest. As a result you go to the fields and try to get a little, just enough to take you thru another year, or at least until the wheat is ready and maybe you’ll get some of that before the Midianites burn it too.

One day Elimelech had enough! He loads up the pick-up with all they can cram in the bed and he and hiw wife Naomi and the two boys head down the east side of the Jordan River toward the dead sea and the plains of Moab.

Now let me stop and say a word about the names of these people. Elimelech means either mighty King or God is King. What a strong name. What a name of faith and courage. And the man runs from his own land and people to a land of devil worshipers and idolators. Did he pray? Did he get counsel? Elimelech is married to Naomi, her name means pleasant. What a nice name for a wife, right. And that’s a good start for a good family. Then their sons are born and I don’t know what went wrong but their names are Weakly and Pining. Maybe they were sickly boys, or mama was sick, but it inserts a sour note in the lives of this Bethlehem family.

Now with the famine on, they head for Moab. Moab means ‘of the father.’ They were the descendants of a man named Moab. Do you remember who his parents were? His mother was the daughter of Lot, and the father was Lot himself. Yep, her son was ‘of the father.’ She got him seriously drunk and had his baby. God was not pleased with them. He gave permission for Israel to battle them and kill many of them.

But marriage with Moabite women was not forbidden as it was with other groups. It was the Moabites who hired the prophet Balaam to come and curse the Israelites so that Moab could defeat them. As ancient relatives, they may have been helpful but they weren’t.

So that sets the stage. Elimelech was afraid they would die of starvation in Israel so he goes to Moab and what happens? He died there. Then his two sons die

Hebrew tradition says they had had begun to observe Moabite religion. Moabites worshiped Chemosh and Ashtar and sometimes practiced human sacrifice. We do not know if it is true about there idolatry, but we do know that the father and the sons died. It might not have anything to do with sin. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Naomi was going thru a horrible time but the Bible says “many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all.” (Psa 34:19) Acts 14:22 says it is thru many tribulations that we enter the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t say a couple of afflictions. It doesn’t say one or two tribulations. It says Many.

We will ALL face many problems in life, many horrible problems, and many tough times. And think, we have it better here in the USA than others around the world. But pain is pain no matter where you live.

Now let’s look at Naomi. (read 8-21) I get the feeling that these daughter-in-laws were pretty good ladies. They both went with Naomi. She persuaded Orpah to go home reluctantly, but Ruth wouldn’t budge. That says something about Ruth but we’ll come back to her. Naomi seems incredibly negative. We are used to seeing Bible heroes be strong and courageous. But let’s give Naomi a break, she just lost her husband and buried her own sons. I can understand some negativity. Listen to Naomi:

1:12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have a husband to-night, and should bear sons; 13 would you tarry till they were grown?

1:19 So they went until they came to Bethlehem. And … when they were come to Bethlehem, all the city was moved...and the women said, Is this Naomi? 20 And she said, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and Jehovah hath brought me home empty; why call ye me Naomi, seeing Jehovah hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Now that is a negative person. But is she wrong? Did she say anything wrong here?

She says she came home empty yet Ruth is there by her side to help and comfort. How about the fact that the famine is over and she is back home with family right at the beginning of the barley harvest? That’s a good thing right?

Then she says Jehovah has afflicted me. Could that be right? Yes it could be, and it is. “Many are the afflictions of the Righteous…” What is an affliction? It is the result of someone afflicting or attacking you. Who was the one who would bring blessings on Israel? It was Jehovah God right? Who was the one who would bring affliction on Israel? Same one, Jehovah God. (Deu 28:15) It is a sad thing that too many pulpits today do not preach the sovereignty of God.

WHY do we hurt?

Look at 2 options: Either God brings afflictions upon us, or God is allowing them to come upon us and he could stop them but doesn’t. What’s the difference? We are still afflicted!

Now 1 more option: God is not strong enough to stop the afflictions. Is that the God of the bible? Is that a God you want to serve? Is that the God who was powerful enough to create the heavens and the earth? NO.

God is all powerful and sovereign. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT GOD! Two of the greatest words in the Bible. At least 93X the bible says “But God.”

We were dead in sins, but God.

Many are the afflictions… But God.

Joseph said “You meant it for evil, But God meant it for good.”

The battle is not yours, But God’s.

They laid Him in a tomb; But God raised Him from the dead!

When Naomi says God has afflicted me, she is dead on! But she forgot the story of Joseph. Joseph also went to a foreign land and was afflicted by God; But God delivered Him and made him a blessing to his family.

Naomi has more than Ruth, more than relatives, more than a rich nephew, and more than a barley harvest, and more than Elimelech: she has God Almighty the Might King, the Sovereign king.

Listen, when people are suffering under incredible loss, you don’t have to reinforce the afflictions of God, just take them to the Sovereign King who can deliver them out of them all!

This is the message of Hymns we Sing:

William Cowper wrote: God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm....

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

We also sing:

Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength i find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my father's wise bestowment I've no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each day what He deems best. Lovingly its part of Pain and Pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Now a word about Ruth. Especially for Valentine’s day. She knew what it meant to have Steadfast love! She modeled the Love of God for us! “The steadfast love of the Lord never fails. His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, Great is thy faithfulness o God.” (Lam 3:22f ESV)

Listen to Ruth’s promise: 1:16…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…

Jesus: "I will never ever leave you or forsake you." Can you see Ruth expressing God's love for Naomi. She embrace her people, she embraced her home, but most importantly she embraced her God.

Have you embraced the God of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven. Do it! Don’t put it off. Wrestle with God if you have to. But turn from your wicked ways and put your trust and hope in Jesus Christ who died for your sins, that you would be saved.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Slouching Towards Old Age (To breathe or not to breathe)

Well, it has happened, remember the old Dick van Dyke show when Rob and Laura Petry slept in different beds? My sleep Apnea (which my insurance company doesn't think is important enough to cover a sleep study for) has gotten worse since Marney went to live at Papa's house. Now that she's back she can't sleep since my tendency to STOP BREATHING concerns her at night. My assurances that I always Start Breathing Again have fallen on deaf ears (which I thought was my job to have.) Hence, the opening sentence of this blog.

I need a CPAP machine set somewhere between tornado and hurricane, in order to keep breathing at night. I need a sleep study for the Dr. to look at and stroke his chin and say intellectual things like, "Hmmm, interesting." Then, after the AMA required chinstroking etc. he can "Prescribe" the machine. But Insurance won't pay for a sleep study. It's like almost a thousand bucks to do one.

Maybe Marney could film me sleeping all night, I could rent an oxygen sensor for my finger, and she could check my BP like every hour. Then we could take all the data to him and pretend I had a sleep study. To which he would Pretend to Prescribe a CPAP machine.

I'm not really whining (REALLY!) its just a conundrum. Oh that the health care system in our country was perfect. If only the Republicans would stop standing in the way or at least offer a better idea. Oh wait, They DID. Less government is ALWAYS a good idea in the areas where Government shouldn't intrude. For armies, police, judges and prisons, it does great. Not that there isn't a case of outsourcing those, too. But I'm happy to leave them in governmental hands for now. Everything else they try to do they maniacally distort. I'd like to get a bill before Congress to outsource Welfare and the IRS, too. Wouldn't THAT be fun!

Alas, it's not going to be fixed fast enough to help my sleeping.

I guess I will have to buy a better insurance coverage. And, somehow, I think that's the way it's supposed to be.