Though the book of Ruth is, in one way, a great love story, there nevertheless is great pain in it. Women bearing the deep sorrow of their men dying far too young, brings a sorrow to our own hearts. And now they are left to try to figure out how life can go on, somehow, struggling with logistics and details. What should they do? What are their options? And each of the choices they are given carry even more pain and sorrow. It is a sad, sad line when we hear Ruth say “the hand of the Lord has gone out against me”. For a person who believes that God is somehow in control of all things, this was indeed a bitter pill to swallow.
The child of God lives in the strange tension between the joy of knowing that we are in God’s hands and He cares for us on the one hand, and on the other hand, dwelling in a broken, sin-sick world where we are forced to endure the consequences of sin, which is death, sorrow, sickness and the like. Often it is very difficult to reconcile those two realities. But I like the book of Ruth, for it is real. God really is in control, and Ruth and Naomi still experience the natural sorrows of life. That is real. That’s how I experience life. The Bible is not fantasy cartoon where everything turns out perfectly in every situation.
As I see Naomi and her daughter-in-laws weeping and filled with anguish and confusion, I am strangely comforted. For that is me too. And, in spite of their weeping here, we know that joy awaits them in the future. And that gives me hope. God is at work in my life. He may not spare me from every sorrow and tragedy along the way, but He is in control and as I trust in Him, I have a confident hope for the future.