A woman loses her husband and grieves. She is unemployed and times are hard in her location. What is she to do? Her immediate family is not really able to offer her any assistance. It is a time of difficult choices when she is emotionally distraught.
She has two directions that are possible. One would be to stay where she is and hope that somehow she can make her way. It is her hometown – surely there is someone who would take her in and help her find some kind of livelihood. Even without immediate family there – it is what she knows and where she was raised.
But she doesn’t take the easy choice – she takes the second more challenging one. She leaves all that she knows to follow her mother-in-law back to the land of her roots. The mother-in-law discourages her but the woman sees the need to accompany her and offer her care. She clings to this bit of “family” and her loyalty is a treasure.
Amazingly, she has indeed made the better choice. In coming to Israel, she learns about the living God and she becomes a woman of faith. Her example of trusting in God’s provision helps many.
I love the story of Ruth. She inspires me to trust God and follow Him, no matter what the circumstances. Her journey of faith takes her through some very hard times – but it is those struggles that lead her to the God who sustains and cares for us all.
It seems it is often in the rough times of life that we better realize our need for God in our lives. While God wants the best for us, He often uses things like tough economic times or family challenges to get our attention. I know for myself that life’s challenges drive me to God’s Holy Word for comfort.
My life’s journey has passed through some very rough roads. Many times I wonder why does this all have to happen to me? While I don’t truly have an answer to the “why” I do know that God strengthens me and teaches me through these difficult days. I am actually better for having experienced some indescribably bad circumstances.
Strength of character isn’t often built in the good times. It’s the striving and working through things that helps us develop more resilience and fortitude. Challenges force us to make choices. Those choices can be life changing.
In Ruth’s case, her choice to follow her mother-in-law Naomi back to the people of Israel brought her to faith in God and to salvation. In my case, making choices to continue to love and serve God, even in dreadful conditions, strengthens me and deepens my faith.
What choices do you face at this time? Are you dealing with a difficult people? You can choose to avoid them or you can decide to be Christ’s light to them. Are you facing economic hardship? You can hope and choose to trust in God’s provision or you can lament your situation and fall into despair.
Many of life’s circumstances have two sides and the choices we make are life impacting. I pray that you choose God’s way – He loves you and has a purpose for you. He will sustain you and get you through even the most challenging of life’s conditions.