As a widow, I was drawn instantly into the story of Naomi and her plight. Naomi and her husband moved to a distant country called Moab with their two sons. While they were there, her husband passes away. Her two sons had married Moabite women but both sons also pass away before having any children to carry on the family’s name. The book picks up with her decision to return to her homeland in Judah. She tells her two widowed daughters-in-law that they should return to their own families as she has nothing to offer them. Naomi is struggling with where God has her life. The two women obviously love their mother-in-law but one, Orpah, decides to part ways with the family and return to her own family. The other, Ruth, however, decides instead to stay with her. I love Ruth’s words in this first Chapter.
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth’s faithfulness and determination to stay with her mother-in-law become how she eventually finds her new destiny. When they arrive in Judah, people are obviously impressed with Ruth. Her faithfulness was admired but many. As a result, when Ruth finally meets a distant relative of Naomi’s named Boaz, he already knows her story. Fast forward to the end of the book, Boaz eventually marries Ruth and gives her children. The two become grandparents of David - A man after God’s own heart. Ruth could not have known her destiny when she left Moab and yet God did.
Are you waiting on your Boaz? I know that I am. By “Boaz” I don’t mean necessarily that someone to share life. Are you currently believing God for something and while you’re sure He realizes it, it’s not happened yet? Maybe healing of some kind or to change things so that you can get back to a life that you see for yourself - “if only”? Whether you’re just really not sure what it is or you are positive you know what (and tell God frequently)… whatever “it” is….or the hope of it, I suppose... it’s what gets you up in the morning. It’s that hope that maybe tomorrow you’ll get that answer that helps you fall asleep in the dark quiet of the night. I have a hope for a “Boaz”. Feeling kind of lost where I find myself now! It’s interesting that my bible opened up to a book whose underlying question is simply “God, where are you in all this?” I realize the same providence that weaved Ruth into Boaz’s field on the very day he would happen to be in his fields is available to all of us. It’s just hard to accept (for me) sometimes God is working even when I don’t see it or feel it.
So, after being reminded of this, today I’ve decided to focus on what faithfulness looks like. I need to remember that God knows exactly what I’m needing just the timing isn’t right. And to not give up. In this fast pace life, we expect (and want) equally fast relief from the dark and uncomfortable places. The reality of these dark, quiet places are where we really grow the most. So, today, I am reading and re-reading Ruth’s response. It helps me to remember that God works with the faithful. That in the uncomfortable places, I need to be determined to be faithful to the right things. Not worried about what’s in it for me or when my trip to Judah will make clear my next step in life. Instead, I will continue to pray for the grace to just focus on making the trip to Judah. Or wherever He leads me next.