This is probably an unspiritual question, but when one is awake at 2:30 in the morning due to spiritual wrestlings, one tends to come up with strange questions. Our small groups just completed the book “A Loving Life” by Paul E. Miller. As far as life-changing books, this one will remain with me for a long time to come. The premise of the book is, based on the lives of Naomi and Ruth, how is God conveying a picture of how we should live a love-filled life. My main takeaway is to continue becoming more like Christ by responding in love to those God has placed in my life, I may seem to disappear, but only then God can then move to the forefront.
So where did the question come from? I’m glad you asked. As I struggle through what that concept looks like lived-out, as I strive to love others and have no thought for self, I mourn the loss of self. Should it be this way? No. Am I human? Yes. Do I love self more than I should? Most definitely. Hence, the question of Ruth’s humanity. As I cry, I wonder about when Ruth’s husband died and can imagine her mourning the loss of her husband and the hope for children. Even as she and Naomi leave Orpah behind, the Word is clear that the women wept (Ruth 1:14). However, from that point forward, we seem to be swept along with the story and feel a prideful indignation toward Naomi for how she seemingly treats Ruth. We feel excitement as we hope for Ruth. We feel anxious as Boaz lays out his plan to offer her to another redeemer.
Until tonight though, I’ve never given her over to completely being human. I fear that I’ve given her a more stoic persona. Until tonight, I’ve never thought about the possibility that she felt anything once they left Moab. Although I may never have the answer, I began to think about her humanity. Ruth did not live in a vacuum. She did not live unaware that she was alone and her mother-in-law was so caught up in her grief that she disregarded her existence. By all accounts of what God has given us in His word, Ruth was an intelligent, loving woman who understood how life works. So I wonder, did she sometimes cry herself to sleep as she mourned her losses? Even her loss of self as she strove to honor God and serve others?
Prayer: Lord God, please continue to mold me into the image of your Son. As I learn to die to self and allow Him to live through me, help me to find the joy in the death of my flesh (Hebrews 12:1-2).