I have always felt that the book of Ruth is the most beautiful story. I love a good love story with a happy ending. But since this love story is in the Bible, it’s more than just a romance novel.
In Ruth 1, a famine in Bethlehem led Elimelek to take his wife, Naomi, and their two sons to Moab – a land of rich soil, adequate rainfall, where the crops will not fail (any farmer’s dream!). But Moab was a known enemy of Israel. It led Israel into immorality and pagan worship. Elimelek’s two sons marry Moabite women. Within 10 years, all three men die, leaving behind three widows. With no economic means to survive, Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem. She tells her daughters-in-law to go back to their own families. Orpah left, but Ruth stayed.
Fifty-three years ago, I made this pledge to Bill on our wedding day, “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Only death will separate us.” I had no idea then that that pledge came from the Bible, or that it was made by a girl to her mother-in-law! For me it led to nine moves, three provinces, and joining the C&MA denomination – one I knew nothing about. But I can tell you I wouldn’t change a thing in my life.
Ruth had no idea what making that commitment to Naomi would mean. Elimelek had taken his family to a land of milk, honey and sin. There he and his sons lost their lives. But God took the situation and supplied redemption to Elimelek’s widowed wife and their daughter-in-law.
Ruth raises a question that we all need to ask God, “Why have I found favour in your eyes?”
John 9, a man blind from birth is healed by Jesus with spit-filled mud. Jesus did not follow a regimen or traditional ritual. His ministry was as he felt led by his Father. The blind man went from blindness to sight, darkness to light, and from a negative existence to a positive life. The Pharisees question him and his parents, trying to find a way to discredit God’s hand in the healing. They did not want to hear the truth. Jesus said, “But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (v.3)
We have been enduring a terrible global pandemic. We do not always understand the why of what goes on, but we do understand that GOD is in charge. Like Ruth, we ought not to expect special treatment. Instead, we need to humbly obey the Lord, confess our unworthiness, take refuge under his wings, and be astonished by his grace.
Pastor’s wife, nurse and only partially-responsible for Marva Goertzen