But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
- Ruth 1:16
I never thought I would be the person to try and share the Gospel with strangers. In fact, these were the kinds of people that made me most uncomfortable when I did not know the Lord. Yet, here I was, walking up to several girls I had never met before to ask them about their faith. As I tried to keep my breathing steady, my mind scrambled for ways to initiate conversation smoothly.
I could tell you about how I stuttered out my introduction, or how the whole time I was speaking I kept shifting my weight and crossing my arms because of my anxiety. All of that is true, but isn’t what stood out to me about sharing the Gospel. When I go back to this memory, I always remember the comfort that the Lord gave me in being with Him. I felt especially close to Him in this moment as I obeyed Him in making Him known. Despite being apprehensive, I chose to follow Him and through this felt our relationship grow.
Before Spring Break of this year, I had never participated in organized evangelism. I had shared my faith with others, but I had never been sent by someone to share my faith with strangers, so you can imagine how nervous I was. The good news was that I had found a friend who was just as nervous as me, so neither of us felt alone. We joined up with someone more experienced and then went out to do evangelism on the beach. For a couple of hours, the three of us went around to groups on the beach and shared our faith by talking about life with them. Eventually, it became time to leave the beach. However, as we were making our way out, our group saw three girls and although we were tempted to continue on the way we knew we had to talk to them.
As we approached the group, they did not seem like they wanted to talk. The last group we approached had also rejected talking to us, so going up to this group that appeared unwelcoming was not easy. However, when we said hi and explained ourselves, although hesitantly, they allowed us to sit down and talk with them. The girls quickly opened up about the hardships in their lives and their relationships with the Lord. I remember one girl in particular who told us about how she had just escaped her abusive stepfather, but by doing so lost the community she had at home. We were able to connect them with a campus ministry at their college. I still pray for the girls we met.
This experience taught me more about who God is and drew me closer to Him. Learning this with a friend made the experience even better as we got to see how the Lord is working around us together. He showed us who He is and that He is with us. This is similar to the bond that grows between Naomi and her daughter in law Ruth in the book of Ruth. At the beginning of the book, Naomi has lost her sons, and Ruth her husband. Ruth is a Moabite and did not know God, while Naomi believes in the Lord but feels betrayed by Him for letting her sons die. Although Naomi tells Ruth to go back home to find a better life, Ruth decides to watch after her mother-in-law. She could easily have gone back home, but she stays loyal and will not leave Naomi! She says Naomi’s home will be hers, Naomi’s people will be her people, and most importantly, Naomi’s God her God. Due to Ruth’s decision, not only do they become travel partners in the sense of going somewhere physically together, but they learn more about their faith together. Naomi and Ruth become travel partners in the sense that they both go on this journey that brings them closer to the Lord and shows them His true character.
Ruth did not really know who the God she was now following was. Naomi believed He had forsaken her. Yet, throughout the book, the Lord continuously provides for them. He shows them that He does not forget any of His children. Everything that He does is for the greater plan. When Ruth goes to glean in the fields Boaz notices her and takes care of her. He tells his workers to protect her and Boaz makes sure that Ruth and Naomi have enough to eat. He eventually marries her and they have a child together that is apart of Jesus’ lineage. In the end, the once bitter Naomi praises the Lord for being the nourisher of life. Ruth and Naomi get to witness God’s intentionality with His children. He is not cruel and everything that happens He uses to grow His kingdom.
When two people travel together they grow closer and learn about each other. Not only were Naomi and Ruth traveling with each other throughout this book, but they were traveling with the Lord as well. Together they learned who He was and that they could lean on Him as He will provide and care for His children. The Lord loves us dearly and gives us people to lean on when we go through hard times, but ultimately, He asks us to lean on Him and grow closer to Him in these times.
1. Is there a time you went on a journey with someone and in result grew closer to them?
2. How has God provided for you in times of suffering?
Father, we praise You for being intentional in your plans for me and consistently providing for your children. I ask that you push me to experiences that will allow me to grow closer to You and learn more about who You are. I pray that I know that I can rely on You through hard times. I love you. In Your Name, Amen.
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