In her book Giddy Up, Eunice, author Sophie Hudson describes the story of two widows, Naomi and Ruth, as an account of seemingly unimportant people during insignificant times.1 Yet, these women’s lives were a necessary part of God’s plan for a savior: Ruth is an ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:22) and counted in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17).
When we met Naomi, she was grieving the death of her husband, two sons, and the lack of an heir. She believed God’s hand was against her. However, God was there during her season of hardship — he provided her with Ruth, who not only accompanied Naomi on her journey back to the land of Judah, but also promised to care for her until parted by death.
Once Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, she asked the townspeople to call her Mara (bitter) rather than Naomi (pleasant), because she mistakenly perceived her suffering as God’s condemnation.
Today I finished reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and chapter fifteen seemed applicable to Ruth and Naomi’s situation. Lysa explained that we all need hardships — and relief from them — in order to live fruitful lives. God can redeem our pain and guide us to the help we need. Hard circumstances from our past don’t define our future destiny; heartbreaking seasons can grow us rather than define us. It’s usually a lengthy process to be cured of bitterness. But the affliction that God brings us through will bear the fruit of a humble, useful heart.2
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NASB).
1 Hudson, Sophie. Giddy Up, Eunice: Because Women Need Each Other: B&H Publishing Group, 2016.
2 TerKeurst, Lysa. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely Nashville: Nelson Books, 2016.