3. Brokenness Redeemed: Ruth
Christ has for us a beautiful, eternal future, where one day all will be made right, and all our experiences will be redeemed to display the glory of God.
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel." -Ruth 4:14
In a very dark period of Israel’s history, a woman named Ruth enters the scene. Her story is a glimmer of beauty and hope amidst the surrounding circumstances.
Ruth had married into an Israelite family that immigrated to her land in a famine. But when Ruth’s husband and father-in-law die, she does not go back to her original family and people. Instead, Ruth loyally stays with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and goes back to Israel with her. This is a true act of love and sacrifice.
As a poor, immigrant widow, Ruth is in a very hard circumstance. However, she selflessly cares for Naomi by going to pick grain in the field of a relative named Boaz, a wealthy leader in the Jewish community. In this time, when women could not do much to provide for themselves, a male relative, such as Boaz, could take on the duty of what was called a “redeemer.” The redeemer would marry the widow, keeping her in the family and rescuing her out of her situation.
Ruth boldly approaches Boaz and asks him to be her redeemer. Impressed with Ruth’s loyalty and care for her mother-in-law, Boaz desires to do so. After the first relative in line declines the role in fear of taking on too much liability, Boaz pays the price to redeem Ruth. He marries Ruth, and together, they have a son from whose lineage Jesus himself comes many years later!
In the story of Ruth, we see a beautiful picture of how God is at work even in brokenness and tragedy. In the midst of famine, death and poverty, God redeems Ruth and Naomi and weaves their story into his grand plan of salvation for the whole world!
But is God working in our lives? Is he weaving our stories into his plan?
The twists and turns of life can make for a very confusing journey. It can be easy to doubt God’s goodness or control and to lose hope. Ruth most likely struggled with these very feelings! But God redeemed Ruth’s situation: her experiences of tragedy led to a destination of joy and the fulfillment of God’s plan. In the same way, our struggles and setbacks are not dead-end streets!
Ruth’s physical rescue led to the great spiritual rescue that came in Christ. When we were without hope, Jesus became our redeemer! He made a much bigger sacrifice than Boaz, paying the price for our sin with his very life. Then, taking us into his family, Jesus gave us freedom and new life in him! It is because of Jesus that we can trust that God is at work even in perplexing situations.
Christ has for you a beautiful, eternal future, where one day all will be made right, and all your experiences will be displayed like a mosaic shining forth the glory of God. Sometimes along the way, God gives us glimpses of how he is redeeming something bad for good; but oftentimes, we are left in the trenches, sometimes even for a lifetime.
In times like these, we can be reminded by the message of Ruth to wait and trust God. We can be encouraged to not give up, because God is at work, redeeming the brokenness in our lives and using it for something so much bigger than we can imagine.
RESPOND: Take a moment to bring to God any hard, confusing circumstances and ask him to help you trust him.