S (Scripture): Ruth 1:21 Naomi says: “I left here full, but the Lord has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ‘Naomi,’ seeing that the Lord has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?” 1:22 So Naomi returned, accompanied by her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who came back with her from the region of Moab.
O (Observation): Naomi was a happily married women with two boys, who have grown up and are now married. But eventually, her husband and two sons pass away. She remains with her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Orpah eventually returns to her homeland, bu Ruth vows to stay by Naomi’s side until her dying day.
Naomi returns home with Ruth by her side. Yet, Naomi’s words make everyone believe that she has returned “empty-handed.” Later on, Naomi will see that she has returned home with someone who is very special indeed.
A (Application): I haven’t lost a close loved one…but I have seen death close up. This pain of death is difficult to bear. We try to make sense of the loss of a loved one, and we notice, more than anything, the LACK of that person in our presence. We will not hear that person’s voice, or see that person’s smile.
I can accept that Naomi felt abandoned and even empty-handed. I’m sure Naomi appreciated all that Ruth has done for her…but nothing Ruth can do can overcome the loss of a husband and two sons.
And God steps in. God inspires Ruth to stay by Naomi’s side, and as we’ll see, much more.
Who has God placed by your side in the midst of tragedy? Who have you stood by in the midst of someone else’s tragedy?
God has truly made us a community to bear one another’s burdens. For this, we give thanks to God.
P (Prayer): Lord God, who fashions the community of all believers, give us strength to hold one another up in times of need. Amen!