Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1: 16
Ruth muttered under he breath as she slowly worked through the barley fields. It was slow, tedious, back-breaking work and gave Ruth way too much time to think back on all the changes that had taken place in her life. Who would have thought she would have ended up here, in Bethlehem, working the fields for a little bit of food for her and Naomi each night.
Ruth, like all Moabite women, had been raised to marry and be cherished by her husband. Sure, women worked hard, but not like this grueling work for such little return. The famine in Bethlehem was what caused Elimelech and Naomi to move to Moab in the first place. Although people were saying things were getting better, from what Ruth could see, it wasn’t over yet.
She wasn’t sorry, though. Ruth loved Naomi from the minute their family moved into their Moabite community. Naomi, Eliminach and their two sons Chilion and Mahlon. They were all so full of life and…something else. Naomi said it was the love of God that kept them positive through the long famine and eventual move to a strange land.
All Ruth knew was that Naomi was always there with a kind word and wise advice for a young girl. It seemed so natural for Ruth to marry Naomi’s son, and over those few golden years Ruth felt Naomi became more than a mother-in-law, she really was Ruth’s best friend. Family gatherings presided over by Naomi and Elimelech became the most treasured parts of Ruth’s busy week. It seemed strange to some, but Ruth was closer to Naomi than she was to her sister in law Orpah, who she had known her whole life.
Times sure got hard after Elimelech died. Naomi struggled for a long time after that, and Ruth and Chilion gladly welcomed her into their home. It was the right thing to do, and the truth was Ruth was glad to have the woman’s company. But then Chilion and Orpah’s husband Mahlon died as well. Who would have expected it? So young, and now Ruth mourned along with Naomi in the quiet, empty house.
Ruth completely understood when Naomi determined to return to her homeland in Bethlehem. She had brothers and sisters there, people she knew that weren’t so directly related to the sad time her life had become.
And she didn’t blame Orpah for staying in Moab when Naomi urged the two young women to remain and make a new life. But for Ruth, the close bond she and Naomi had formed over the years was stronger than any desire to resist yet more change in her life. There was no question in Ruth’s mind that she would soon be traveling a foreign land to start a new life with her best friend Naomi.
But as Ruth painfully worked her way down the long row of barley, tirelessly gleaning enough food for her and Naomi’s evening meal, she couldn’t help but think back on all she had lost. She wondered how the long, lonely season she and Naomi were in could possibly contribute to God’s plan. Yes, Naomi’s God was now Ruth’s God, she had accepted him back in Moab as the one true God. But Ruth was so sad. Couldn’t she have some of the joy she had so briefly experienced in Moab again? Ruth remained committed to God, but had trouble sometimes understanding His plan.
With so many thoughts running through Ruth’s mind, she didn’t notice the shadow at first. Finally startled out of her reverie, she lifted her head slowly, and locked on the kindest eyes she had seen in her life. “Hello,” she heard the man say, “I’m Boaz…” (Read the Book of Ruth for the rest of the story).
It’s hard sometimes to admit that something in our life needs to change and then to actually take the action to change it. There are lots of reasons we resist change. Probably the biggest is plain old garden variety fear. Like Ruth, we fear the change will be worse than the status quo. Or we fear that we will lose what little control we do have on the situation if we venture into territories unknown. Maybe we don’t trust ourselves to make the right decisions and we fear that our poor judgement will cause us to fail.
Regardless of fear, God encourages us to step into the shadows of the unknown in search of something better for His kingdom.
Fear is a product of Satan’s work in our lives, and acceptance of the status quo, denial, and resistance to change are all music to the Devil’s ears. When we succumb to his worldly influence and fear the inevitable change in our lives, it means that we are conforming to the world, not to God and His plans for us.
Romans 12:2 tells us: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Transformation (change) helps us to better know the will of God, and helps us to become better instruments to carry out God’s plans.
The Bible is full of stories of people who have embraced change even when God’s purpose could not be clearly seen upfront. In addition to Ruth’s story, think about Noah, Esther, the Prodigal Son, Moses, David, Jonah and even Paul! All stories of men and women who had every reason to resist the change being hoisted into their lives. But despite their resistence, they accepted it and God’s plan moved forward.
We, too, can experience God’s victory , if we face what isn’t working, resist the Devil’s urge to stay the same, believe in God enough to change, and allow ourselves to be transformed!
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Phillipians 3:21
‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ Acts 22:10
Susan Lee is the author of several Christian Living books including God’s Law of Attraction: The Believer’s Guide to Success and Fulfillment, Developing Patience and Perseverance in an Impatient World and her newly released Devotionals Reflecting on God’s Power: What the Bible Teaches Us About Praise, Forgiveness and More. All are available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format, and are part of the Kindle Unlimited program.