“So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife…and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.'” – Ruth 4:13-15
Even during the darkest times God is working. Like the Sun behind the clouds on a rainy day…He is still there…still shining…still giving life! The fact of the matter is that life is not fair or easy. Everyone has crises in their life, that is not debatable. The question is, how are we going to respond in those times of tragedy or suffering? As believers, will we respond out of “faith” or “fear”? The Book of Ruth is a short story of how one family handled it. A beautiful illustration of God’s presence and guidance during challenging times. It is the story of a small unknown family from Bethlehem during a famine. A husband, wife and two sons on a journey to Moab in search of better circumstances only to encounter more heartache.
Not long after they had settled there, Elimelech died and Naomi was left alone with two sons in a foreign land. Things seemed to be getting better when both boys found wives and the family was growing. Then, tragedy came again. Both boys died leaving two widows, Orpah and Ruth. Wow. “How much can one family take?”, we ask. “This doesn’t seem fair.” How do you feel when bad things happen to good people? How do you respond when a crisis comes crashing into your life? Do you ever wonder, “Where is God?” If so, the story of Ruth is one for you. In this short Book you will find the theme of the whole Bible…God’s redeeming love.
Believe it or not, the Book of Ruth is a message of hope that shines light into a story shattered by grief and pain. It is the revelation of a God who is a “very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). It reveals a God who continues to work for our good and for His glory even when we cannot see Him. This story should inspire us to hold onto our faith in God and to trust Him through it all. We want to complain but we need to continue. We want to quit but we need to keep going. It is a choice we must make as people of faith. Faith does not mean the absence of pain and suffering in this world. It does not give us a free pass from tragedy or grief. Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). It is knowing that God is with us through the valleys and He is there to walk with us through the grief…even when we cannot see it.
In the four short chapters of this story we see God at work in the lives of Naomi and Ruth. They return to Bethlehem devastated and empty. They are seemingly unaware that God is watching and engaging them in His eternal plans to redeem the lost world. How do we know?
Synopsis: Ruth goes to Bethlehem with Naomi. Ruth meets Boaz. Boaz marries Ruth. They have a baby which restores Naomi’s hope in God. Baby’s name is Obed, grandfather of King David from whose lineage came the Messiah…Jesus.
So, in this tragic story we see God’s sovereign hand using the events of life, both good and bad, to bring about the salvation of His creation. If we are willing, and we look closely, we can see the hand of God working through all circumstances to bless His people. Are you hurting today? God has not abandon you. Look to Him for your comfort and have faith that He is working in your life as He was in Naomi’s even though she could not see it.