14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth stayed with her. 15 Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods. Turn back after your sister-in-law.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you.”
One of the biggest enemies of courage are our own justifications.
We actually are probably pretty good at identifying the right thing to do, but we’re also masters at finding all the possible reasons we shouldn’t do it. I think that happens a lot when situations like the one Ruth is in arises. I think logically, spiritually, ethically, we know it is right to stand beside others. It is right to show our full support for the things they’re going through and to walk alongside them. But unlike Ruth, I think we’re great at talking ourselves out of it – we perhaps even have a few regular excuses in our life that we use all the time because we know others won’t dare press the issue.
But we can learn from Ruth’s example of courage. She doesn’t know what’s before them but what she does know is what the right thing to do is, and that is to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. The situation very easily seemed hopeless, and Ruth could have come up with plenty of reasons to leave that no-one would have questions her on (no-one seemed to question Orpah). But Ruth’s courage came from trusting that God would be present in the tough times and that it would be best for Naomi if someone stayed with her. Her courage and faith is one that can remind us to seek kindness, not excuses, when times are tough.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Can you think of a time when you either stood beside someone or someone stood beside you even though that was not the easiest decision? What role did courage play in that situation?
Prayer: God of Loyalty, you have called us to seek goodness and trust in You. May that be so today. Amen.