Now it came to pass, in a faraway land there lived a young woman who once had it all but now was left with nothing. The man she loved, her protector and provider was gone . . . as was the life she once knew.
Barren and broken, she struggled to make sense of the pain bearing down on her soul. Both her husband and his brother had tragically died. What would become of her? What was she to do? And where on earth was she going? In blind faith, she plodded along the rough terrain behind her sister-in-law Orpah, (not to be confused with Oprah, that’s a whole other story).
With a heaving sigh, she looked at the only woman who loved her man more . . . Naomi, his geriatric mother; she too had experienced much loss. A widow herself, fresh lines of bitterness were etched in the wrinkles around her mouth and eyes.
The old woman stopped suddenly. A dust cloud rose over their sandaled feet, obscuring the path and stinging their eyes. She turned to them,
“Go, return each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me . . .”
Ruth studied Naomi’s mouth as she continued to speak—did she say something about a new husband? The thought of loving another man, of leaving Naomi brought yet even more pain! Her breath caught in her throat.
Before she could even exhale, she was smothered in the strong embrace and goodbye kisses of the two women.
Wails of grief rose from each of their bellies as yet another loss was thrust upon them; the loss of friendship . . . of kinship. It was too much for her.
Orpah was first to let go, and turned back towards her home and her people. Her people? Ruth could not understand. When she married her man, she had become one with him and his family. To her, Naomi was all she had left.
Peace and determination came over her. She clung to the tired, bitter woman. Feeling the warmth of her touch, it was clear to her then that she was home. She vowed to follow Naomi wherever she went, till death do they part, accepting and calling on Yahweh, Naomi’s God.
She had not lost everything after all! As for her future, she would put her trust in her new-found God.
Taking a deep breath, and the gnarled hand of her mother, the two set off to start a new life . . . together. And as we know, they did live happily . . . ever . . . after.
Ruth 1:8 NKJV
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