Our feelings aren’t always the best compass to guide us.
While what we feel is very real in the moment, what we feel isn’t always what is true.
Take Naomi for example. The book of Ruth begins by setting the stage for a powerful redemption story. Famine has swept the land. Naomi’s husband and both of her sons have died. In Naomi’s time, men were the source of economic and domestic security. All Naomi had left were the wives of her two sons. Her situation was dire.
Read Ruth 1 slowly, paying close attention to how Naomi speaks of God.
Famine often forced families to relocate in search of food. The three women have to leave their home in Moab and travel somewhere to find food. Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed the people of Judah with food and planned to return there. The Bible records the heart wrenching scene between Naomi and her daughters. Naomi knows that she cannot take care of them any longer. She blesses them, and in essence says, “you are free from any obligation to stay with me. Return home and may the Lord give you better days.”
I imagine Naomi broke down with emotion as she spoke. She is openly angry, admitting that she is bitter about how she feels the Lord has treated her.
Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye, but the Bible tells us that Ruth clung to Naomi. The word used to describe Ruth’s clinging to Naomi is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 to describe marriage. (“For this reason, a man shall leave his…and cling to his wife.)
Read aloud what Ruth said to Naomi in verses 16 and 17.
“Where you go, I go. Where you stay, I stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”
I wish I could have seen Naomi’s face after Ruth spoke. Naomi felt abandoned by God but still spoke of Him three times in chapter 1. Her bitterness and anger were real, but it wasn’t what was true. As mad as she was, deep down she knew what was true- that God was good. Why else would she ask the Lord to bless her daughters?
She hadn’t been abandoned.
God placed Ruth in Naomi’s life so that she wouldn’t be alone.
She felt abandoned, but Ruth clung to her.
It felt real, but it wasn’t true.
In your life, who has God sent you to remind you that He is still there?