May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done (Ruth 2:12 NLT).
Friend to Friend
Sometimes I feel myself growing bitter about an unexpected situation, especially when I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. In those moments, it helps me to remember the story of Naomi, a woman who had a choice between becoming bitter or better…
Memories flash through Naomi’s mind as she walks the streets of her hometown for the first time in many years. Her wedding day, walking to the market with her little boys, one on her hip and the other holding her hand. Her family left this place to escape a famine, but now her husband and sons are gone.
“Is it really Naomi?” a familiar, though long unheard, voice asks (Ruth 1:19). “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responds. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me” (v. 20). Naomi’s widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, places a hand on her shoulder.
Ruth, a foreigner and gentile, grew up in a pagan land. It appears she came to the Jewish faith through Naomi’s son and now seems to have an inexplicable strength beneath her grief. She weeps as Naomi does but not without hope. She worries but also worships, has tough days and yet persists in putting one foot in front of the other. Naomi has become hard and bitter; Ruth inexplicably remains softhearted and open.
One day Ruth tells Naomi she plans to glean barley in the fields. Jewish law allows the poor to gather the extra barley so they won’t go hungry. Ruth providentially ends up in the field of Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. He shows kindness to her and says, “I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law. . . . May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done” (2:11–12).
It’s the start of an unexpected love story, one that ends with Ruth marrying Boaz and not only giving birth to the grandfather of King David but also becoming part of the Messiah’s lineage. Naomi’s family line will continue, and for the first time in many years, she dares to dream about the future again. When the women of the town come to see the baby, they say, “May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!” (4:15)
My grandmother had polio at the age of twenty-nine, when she was the mother of two young girls. Her pastor came to visit her in the hospital and said, “This can make you bitter or better.” She likes to say with a smile, “I chose better.” She has spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
At first Naomi chose bitter. Ruth chose better. Naomi gave up hope. Ruth kept pushing forward. Naomi believed her life was over. Ruth trusted God still had a plan beyond what she could understand.
We’re not Naomi or Ruth. We all find ourselves acting like each woman at one point or another. What matters is that we recognize when we’re slipping into bitterness. In those moments, what we need most is a friend, family member, wise counselor, or other support person. I have a dear friend I sometimes text when I’m anxious and simply say, “I can’t remember what’s true today. Can you remind me?” Sometimes our roles are reversed—she’s Naomi and I’m Ruth.
What matters is that we help each other not give up because God is always working out an unseen plan, even when we don’t understand. Anxiety tells us, “It’s all over.” But faith, and the “Ruths” in our lives, remind us, “God isn’t finished with your story yet.”
Dear God, when it seems easier to choose bitter instead of better, give me the strength to keep trusting You have a plan beyond what I can understand. Give me the courage to reach out to a Ruth when I need to, and show me who needs me to be a Ruth to them as well.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who’s a Ruth in your life? This person can be someone in your personal life or a counselor, someone who’s present now or whose past influence still gives you hope. And is there someone who needs you to be a Ruth to them?
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Thank you today for this inspirational reading. I was thinking just last week.
God, how I wish I had someone that I could reach out to at times for comfort and words of encouragement. But my God is able and I’m trusting him! It seems to be in my life since I was a little girl that I was always the encourager and always the one that people reached out to for support and encouragement. I’m trusting God and need to stop questioning but lean on him.
Blessings to you and your ministry.
Good morning. I choose to be better although I am still single after 11 years of being divorced. I choose to be better although I am still waiting for my house to finish. I choose to be better although I have problems with my menstrual cycle.
I choose to be better because I am loved by God. God has plans for me. God loves me with an everlasting love.
Thanks for being my better today. I need to be reminded often. Good is always working on our behalf.
Oh, Holley…. thank you so much for this morning boost!
And I say, “Amen!” how many times I’ve been in that duel role of being Naomi and Ruth, in the same day, same week ?!
I want to be more like Ruth, to encourage and be a gentle guide for my friends that have become a little more bitter over this time we are living in.
I choose the “Better”! I’m hanging on the promise of Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge”.
Blessings to you for being our “Ruth”, this Mon am!
I have several “Ruth’s” in my life and I thank God for each of them.
Jacquetta Thompson, Bobbie Turrentine, and Cynthia Lambert are a few of my Ruth’s; these ladies always have an encouraging word for me! They just ooze positivity!
I pray that my actions are viewed to be “Ruth like” today and that I’m example of Gods blessings.
Even at 61 yrs young, I know that God has a plan for my life! The best is yet to come. I didn’t always believe that. I listened to Satan’s lies at the age of 37, I thought my life was over. I was still blessed, clung to God, and poured myself into my 10 year old daughter and 5 yr.old son. Motherhood was such a blessing for me! Of course my kids are grown and married now, and I am a first time Grandma with a 2 month old beautiful grandson. In a unequally yoked marriage it has been a rough 42 years. (Uncertainty) Though the stars fall from the sky, and the mountains fall into the sea, I will serve God! I will be better and not bitter! My Heavenly Father, My Jesus and The Holy Spirit is my Ruth!
Thank you for this devotional! “I can’t remember what’s true today. Can you remind me?.” This is exactly how I felt today, I called my “Ruth” my cousin, Grace, who is like my sister. (I don’t have sisters.)
She refocused me on the sovereignty and love of God!
Thank You Father God☝🏽♥️
Thank you for the reminder of the sovereignty and love of God this morning.
So often I am a Ruth, but life has been so hard this last couple weeks that my heart
Feels so broken for folks I love, a child’s suicide and 2 families affected by stage 4
Cancers. Yet in all of this I’m reminded today of His Sovereignty and His Great Love.
I don’t need to understand what God has done, what God has planned. My Savor is always there for me!
and for them.!
Holly – I’ve gone back to this one over and over. Two years ago I lost my husband to cancer. He was 63 and otherwise extremely athletic and healthy. I was 61. Not how I expected to live my retirement years.
Yet I live in monumental gratitude every day for God’s gifts and my relationship with Him.
Still there is such a whole in my life. I stay very busy and serve in many ways. I miss my best friend and my love!
Thank you for the peace this message brings. I trust Him and put all my faith in His promises.
I love your daily messages. They are spot on. God’s peace and blessings with you today.
Judy, sending you a big hug and saying a prayer for you today!
Thanks for being my Ruth this season of uncertainty for me. God bless you and your ministry.