Posted on November 27, 2018 by America's Keswick in Victory Call
I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC recently. The story of Ruth was included in the Old Testament Experience section of the museum. For obvious reasons, I’ve always been a little partial to that book of the Old Testament.
In reviewing the story again, I was reminded that Ruth (a Moabite), during her marriage to Naomi’s son (an Israelite), faced infertility. I do not have children, mainly because I was older when I married. But I know many women who have had a strong desire for children, yet were faced with infertility or miscarriage. The book of Ruth tells us: “Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years” (Ruth 1:3-5). So, if we assume Ruth was married for ten years, that was ten years of childlessness – 120 months of failing to conceive. One hundred and twenty disappointments. One after another after another.
We all face disappointments – some one time, some repeatedly – from people, circumstances, etc. But can you think of any single specific disappointment that you have faced 120 times? I don’t think I can.
A few short verses after the above, Naomi, having lost husband and both sons, decides to return to her homeland, Israel. She encourages her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their parents, where they might be able to marry again. Initially, both Ruth and Orpah, Naomi’s other daughter-in-law, said they would go with her. But after more encouragement from Naomi, Orpah decided to take Naomi’s advice and return to her father’s home.
Ruth, however, must have learned enough of the God of Naomi in the ten years she was married to her son, to know that life in Moab offered her nothing. In spite of repeated disappointment over ten years, she clung to Naomi, and to Naomi’s God.
“But Ruth said:
‘Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me’” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Ruth had learned, despite personal disappointment, that the God of Naomi could be trusted. She left her home, her people, her culture, and traveled to a place where she would now be the foreigner. Naomi asked to be called Mara (meaning bitter), believing the Lord had afflicted her. But we see no record that Ruth felt the same way. She chose to follow and trust that Naomi’s God would take care of them both.
God rewarded Ruth’s faith by granting her a husband and children. And she became the great-grandmother of King David.
Now I’m not saying that if we remain faithful God will ultimately grant us our desires. Rather, He will make His desires ours. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Through every disappointment life throws at us, may we keep our faces turned to the only One who can fill the desires of our hearts.
Written by Ruth Schmidt: Ruth Schmidt has worked at America’s Keswick since 1985. She currently serves as Administrative Assistant to Bill Welte.
Think About This: “God makes appointments with us in our disappointments. To see the pattern we must take three steps involving the heart, the mind, and the cross.” – Ravi Zacharias
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4