The story of Ruth starts out pretty rough. Naomi's family - her husband, Elimelech, and her two sons - are forced to leave their home in Bethlehem during a famine and travel to Moab in search of food. While there, her husband and both sons die leaving Naomi alone in a foreign country. Well, not quite alone, since her Moabite daughters-in-law are with her. But Naomi figures that the only real hope that she has is to return to Bethlehem and the difficult life of a widow. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, insists on coming along with her and commits to caring for her. What a blessing for Naomi, but it's a major sacrifice for Ruth!
I hope you've had time to read the full story - it's only 4 chapters long - and how God restored hope to both Naomi and Ruth. It's one of those happily-ever-after accounts that give us a warm feeling. But those great endings only have their powerful impact on us because of the times of despair preceding. God's love and care for us never ceases even though we sometimes feel like it has. His love triumphs over our circumstances and sustains us through dark times. The key to this is to keep our trust in God and, in the words of the Wilson-Phillips song from 20 years ago "Hold on for one more day".
But for those of us who are not in the midst of personal tragedy or challenge, God is calling us to play a part in his work in the lives of others. Just as Boaz showed special kindness and care toward Ruth, we have opportunities to do the same for others. Who do you know that you can reach out to and share God's love today? How can you meet a practical need for someone?
The wonderful news is that God is always at work in his UPPER story - no matter what's going on in our lower story. And he is the only one who can redeem our life and circumstances through his loving presence, power, and provision. I hope you'll be able to join us this Sunday, November 9th, as we look at this wonderful love story.
Thoughts about living as a Jesus follower and life at Community Covenant Church