Read Ruth 1:1-22
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or 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.’ ” (Ruth 1:16).
What had happened in a house wrought with death to lead Ruth to cling to her mother-in-law? Losing three men, three breadwinners. First, her father-in-law died. Then her brother-in-law and even her own husband.
Had Ruth seen the mystery of a God who comforts when comfort seemed impossible? Had she tasted the sweetness of food provided when provisions were exhausted due to famine? Had she felt a spark of hope in a hopeless home situation?
For Naomi, the return to Bethlehem was a return to her homeland. For Ruth, the decision must have loomed under a shadow of uncertainty. It involved a foreign land. The travel itself would be treacherous and exhausting. Bewildering questions must have gripped Ruth. Would she ever marry again or bear children? Would her family be distraught as if she was abandoning her people and the only land she’d known?
In one direction was the known, the lifestyle Ruth had been living, the comfort zone. Ruth could have, as we do, chosen that way even though pain, death and famine hallmarked the path. She could have gone back in misery to her birth family.
Ruth’s crossroad decision is like one we face from time-to-time. How often do we hold onto what’s stagnant simply because it’s familiar? We squeeze tight our fists around what is useless and burdensome just for fear of what we haven’t seen on another path.
Ruth chose the “other path.” Her story of hope sprung from her decision to branch out and trust what she had not yet seen or experienced. Before food provision (Ruth 2:3), before Boaz (Ruth 2:19-20), and before a royal-birth-line baby (Ruth 4:13-22), Ruth stepped out in hope.
Are you facing a crossroads in your own life? Is your comfortable path one that needs abandoning? In what areas are you clinging to what is fruitless? God’s big picture put the Messiah, Jesus, in the bloodline of Ruth (Matthew 1:5). That is the story of hope overcoming a destiny of death in Ruth’s life and in ours!
written by Sacha Kauffman