Fear and depression can come from a place of great grief, pain and loss. Ruth was very familiar with grief, pain and loss. She lost her husband, her brother and laws and her father-in-law in which appears to be a short period of time. She had no children. I’m sure she was full of grief when her mother-in-law Naomi offered to let her go back to her home. I’m sure going home sounded like a good idea. But Ruth didn’t do that. She clung to Naomi and vowed “where you go, I will go, where you lodge, I will lodge, your people will be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16 AMP)” Ruth had hope. Ruth was brave.
Grief is hard. When I have struggled with grief in the past I have also struggled with depression. I believe it is a very hard thing to overcome. I am thankful that there are things like grief support groups available for many. I think one of the keys to getting over such a great loss is found in Ruth. Ruth kept moving forward, she didn’t go back home. She moved forward with Naomi. You can see that she loved Naomi and felt she needed to care for her. Ruth had something to do and she moved forward in it. I think when dealing with grief sometimes we need to just keep moving forward and doing good. Joyce Meyers mentions in her Everyday Life Bible on the subject of Ruth that “God promises to be with you in trouble. While you are waiting for him to deliver you, you can be comforted knowing he is with you and working on your behalf.” (pg410)
Ruth traveled with Naomi to Bethlehem. Once they settled in Ruth went to a field to glean grain for her and Naomi. The field was owned by one of Naomi’s relatives, Boaz. Boaz looked after Ruth and allowed her to eat some bread and drink water with his servants and ordered his servants to leave her grain to gather. Boaz had heard that Ruth had left with Naomi and was caring for her and was kind to Ruth because of what he had heard.
Now we find out in chapter 3 that Boaz could redeem Naomi and Ruth if he choose to buy Naomi’s land and marry Ruth. Boaz would be winnowing barley at the threshing floor which in Jewish custom when this happens there is a celebration. Naomi encouraged Ruth to go and when Boaz laid down for the evening on the threshing floor for Ruth to uncover his feet and lay down at his feet. Ruth does as she’s told and as she’s lying at his feet Boaz wakes up. He is startled by her but once he learns that it is Ruth he blesses her and offers to redeem her if another relative, who is closer in line, declines to do so.
This whole act seems a little strange to us and I think would have taken a lot of bravery on Ruth’s part. Ruth had to step out of her comfort zone and ask Boaz to redeem her. In doing so she is blessed. How many times are we challenged to step out of our comfort zones. Would we be more willing to do the uncomfortable, awkward act if we knew there was a blessing on the other side of it? Most often times there is.
In the last chapter of Ruth Boaz goes to the city gate to meet with the other close relative and 10 other men to discuss Ruth. The other close relative is unable to redeem Ruth so Boaz buys Naomi’s land and takes Ruth for his wife. Ruth is blessed with a child, Obed, the father of Jesse who is the father of King David. Ruth’s story goes from grief to a new hopeful life. It’s amazing how things can turn around when you have hope and are brave.