During the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. A man with his wife and two sons went from Bethlehem of Judah to dwell in the territory of Moab. The name of that man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They entered the territory of Moab and settled there.
But Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died. Then only she was left, along with her two sons. They took wives for themselves, Moabite women; the name of the first was Orpah and the name of the second was Ruth. And they lived there for about ten years.
But both of the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died. Only the woman was left, without her two children and without her husband. -Ruth 1:1-5
The sweeping story of Ruth begins with lack. Not enough to eat, a famine.in the land, means they had to move. Then just as they were putting down roots in a new place, the patriarch of the family died. And before the two newlywed couples could have children, both husbands died. It is a sad scene. Especially considering that three women now are without means to care for themselves in a world where being connected to a man, a husband or a son, is essential to the protection and provision of women. It seems there won’t be enough for Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah. They are just some of the unlucky ones.
Yet- yet- this is exactly the kind of scene in which God seems to specialize. At moments when human possibilities are outstripped, the possibility of what God might do peeks through. Ruth pledges to Naomi, “Your God will now be my God” as they head out on a journey together to Bethlehem. (Also known as “the house of bread”). Ruth is going to try out God, and see what happens. See if lack can become enough. See if grief can give way to hope. She’s going to see.
How about you?
God, you will be my God. I lift up this situation to you which has run out of human possibility (name the situation before God). And I’m looking to see what you will do! I trust in you. Amen.
Reach out to someone who is grieving today. Often we are afraid to contact people because we don’t know what to say. There’s no need to say anything except, “I’m holding you in my prayers today.” Then just listen.
Consider adopting a child who has no way unless God makes a way. Your children can write letters to him/her. Our denomination’s Global Ministries offers opportunities here: