The relationship between Ruth and Naomi has always amazed me. Naomi was so overwhelmed with grief in the death of her husband and sons that she changed her name. Her given name, Naomi, means pleasant, but she no longer felt worthy of that name. She asked her friends to call her, Mara, which means bitterness (Ruth 1:20). That puts a whole new light on Ruth’s determination and commitment to stay with her mother-in-law. She chose to love and support a bitter woman, who possibly felt angry toward God. No doubt she was suffering a crisis of faith when Naomi decided to stay with her.
I want to imagine when times were good for Naomi’s family living in Moab, Ruth saw something in Naomi—something to believe in—that carried her in the touch times and caused her to make the decision to stay with Naomi. Perhaps at some point Ruth witnessed a strong faith in the God Naomi now was angry with.
What about Ruth’s own grief? She had lost a husband, a father- and brother-in-law. She’d lost security that came with her status as a married woman. Yet, the story is about Naomi’s grief, crisis of faith, and Ruth’s decision to follow her.
Ruth walked with Naomi when she decided to be Mara. Eventually God provided for Naomi, restored her faith and family and used Naomi to do it. Two women who needed one another and held on to each other long enough to see God perform His promise . Ruth’s reward for her love and faithfulness brought her a second husband and a son, and eventually the Messiah was born through Ruth’s linage.
Where will a God-given friendship take you? Are you willing to endure with unconditional love to see God’s plan come forth?