By Pastor Larry Frazier

In the Old Testament, Ruth lived a life of trials, tragedy, testing, and eventually triumph. Though she lived centuries before current-day gospel singer, Larnelle Harris, the words from one of his songs aptly apply to her situation. Speaking of God, Harris sang, “You had a reason for those trials. It seemed I got stronger every mile. So you were in it after all.” (“In It After All“). Ruth’s story shows us that God is there for us in life’s good, bad, difficult, and ordinary times.

Ruth, a Moabite, married into an Israelite family. The strict laws of that period did not look favorably on such unions. Throughout history, there had been bad blood between the two groups of people. The biblical references in 1 Samuel 14:47 and 2 Kings 23:13 bear this out. We know, however, that people have always and will continue to fall in love and marry the ones of their choosing.

Ruth lived with her husband and his family in their native country until famine and hardship came upon the land. This caused them to relocate and seek relief in Ruth’s native land, Moab. Sometimes the Hand of God forces us to see things from both sides of a situation and leads us to put aside prejudices for the common good. God brings provision from wherever He wants; He owns it all.

Tragedies started to multiply for Ruth and the family. Ruth’s husband died and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law lost their husbands to death as well. The three women had to fend for themselves. Naomi, the mother-in-law, told her two Moabite daughters-in-law to return to their people and find other husbands. The other daughter-in-law departed but Ruth stayed with Naomi and returned to the land of Israel because the famine had eased. Ruth’s association with Naomi’s family changed her heart. The Moabites worshipped a different god than the Israelites. According to the Word of God, the Moabites worshipped a pagan god. (2 Kings 23:13).

God makes changes in our lives that always work for our benefit. God gave Ruth a new confession. She said to Naomi, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” Ruth was still a Moabite, but her spiritual identity was changed. James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

In the land of Israel, Ruth found another husband and in the lineage that followed, Jesus Christ, THE SAVIOR, was born. God leaves nothing to chance. His control is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. Ruth endured trials, hardship and change through the Holy Spirit working faith in her life. Looking at the words of C. S. Lewis, we can see what God intends for your life through faith in Jesus Christ: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”