Sometimes being a single person can be all-consuming, and our culture doesn’t help in that regard. My social media feed provides ads for dating sites. The books on the shelf and the movies on the screen promise my life will be perfect if only I had that special someone in my life. And then in the middle of the winter doldrums, the calendar presents me with Valentine’s Day. We like to think our culture is unique, but it really isn’t; I imagine Ruth and Orpah felt some of the same pressure. They had been married and now they weren’t, and in a culture that demanded children to care for elderly parents, they no doubt felt the loss. Ruth understood something we can easily forget: the promise of marriage isn’t our salvation. “Your God will be my God.” Ruth didn’t know what the future would hold for her, but she trusted God to fulfill every need. So must we.
Ruth 1:8-17 NIV
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!” At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
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