If you are looking for some encouragement from the Bible, don’t read the book of Judges without carrying on into the book of Ruth. Judges is all about the misguided actions and involvements of the Israelites after the death of their hero Joshua, who led them triumphantly into the Promised Land. Samson and Gideon get the situation turned around for a while, but self-reliance and human reasoning soon return. The book ends with each one doing their own thing even after a monstrously violent episode such as we might see in the news today (Judges 19 and 20).
The events in the book of Ruth took place during the same gloomy period. The story of Ruth is one of persistence and purpose. Although Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law advises against her returning to the land of Israel, where there is little chance of finding another husband, Ruth will have none of it. Come whatever, she will cling to Naomi, even in the face of death.
There are great similarities between the story of Ruth and our calling as Christians. Jesus didn’t promise us a bed of roses, but rather trials and tribulations. Like Ruth, Christians may have to forsake some of their advantages in life, perhaps even putting their calling before their own families. But there would be huge compensation! Just as Ruth gleaned in the barley fields of Boaz and experienced his kindness and protection, so we can have spiritual reassurance when we put our lives in the hands of our Kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ. We get to have fellowship with other Christians, sometimes in a more meaningful way than with our own family. And like Ruth, we are destined to marry our Kinsman-Redeemer. That’s got to be the ultimate happy ending!
Though we can still see the dark clouds and storms around us, good things are happening at the same time. The gospel is being preached in all kinds of places, and people are turning to Christ even in the midst of chaos, crime, war, and confusion. This is the news we don’t always see – the Kingdom of God advancing steadily under the guidance of our Kinsman Redeemer.
The writer of the book of Hebrews says “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfector of our faith who, For the set before Him… sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Sounds like a good idea.