I have no idea of her age, but she is the widow of a foreign man, left in a household of women. When we study her she is a paragon of virtue. Her words, though spoken to her mother-in-law, are used in weddings everywhere:
"Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Ruth 1:16, KJV (because it sounds pretty)
I thought of Ruth during this truly epic move, and felt a little blasphemous - because my first reaction upon reading the book of Ruth during this season of my life was...."Wow, Moab must have sucked!"
Now, before you pull out your pitchforks and bonfire materials, bear with me for a moment.
Ruth jumped (willingly!) into an unknown situation, following her mother-in-law to a land where she was the foreigner, and where she became responsible for said mother-in-law's well being.
I am completely spazzing right now!
What was she thinking?
But, then I look at the end of Ruth. She has a son named Obed. And Obed fathers Jesse, who is the father of David.
Was Ruth always meant to follow Naomi back to Israel to be David's grandmother, and ultimately part of the lineage of Jesus?
The plans of God are far beyond my comprehension. I do not know how they are fashioned, if we change them with our choices......shrugs.....I don't know!
Don't tell my children I said that, by the way.
But, I did see an interesting quote the other day from Walter Ciszek that said the following: "Each of us has no need to wonder what God's will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation every day. The temptation is to overlook these things as God's will. The temptation is to look beyond these things...to seek to discover instead some other and nobler "will of God" in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be."
That, my friends, is SCARY. Because if every day in my life - if every circumstance - is part of the will of God...
Then, "the answer lies in understanding that it is these things - and these things alone, here and now, at this moment - that truly constitutes the will of God. The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act upon it, every moment of every day."
We tend, as Christians, to say that the good is from God and the challenges always evil. But, Ruth's challenge fulfilled God's purpose. It was not an outcome she could have foreseen - being the grandmother of one of Israel's greatest kings, a man after God's own heart. Instead, she walked, taking each day - each circumstance - as the will of God.
For me, this idea has many scary and hurtful pitfalls.
It means that we have experienced the will of God when:
we've struggled financially.
we've lost our children.
we've lost our job.
we've moved half way across the country.
we've left our homeland and family and friends.
I don't know that I'm ready to accept that idea. And maybe there is a fine line between accepting your circumstances as God's will and thinking that they are his fault.