Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ruth Begs to Stay

by Mary Vee
Ruth 1

From Ruth's Journal

On the road to Israel Naomi stopped unexpectedly. I thought she wanted to rest, but the serious look on her face showed she had something to say.

She held Orpah and my hands and spoke with a shaky voice. "My daughters-in-law, you must go to your mother's home. Find new husbands and have a family."

Orpah and I hugged Naomi and begged her to let us continue the journey, but Naomi shook her head. After her second request, Orpah hugged Naomi and cried. "Bye, Mother. Have a peaceful journey." And then she walked away. 

I couldn't stop the pounding of my heart. Leave? 

How could I leave this precious woman who taught me about a loving God? The God who made heaven and earth and cared for her people. I couldn't breathe.  "Please, let me go with you." 

I pressed her frail body close and hugged her with every ounce of strength I had. "Please, Mother--please."

Naomi pushed me back and shook her head. "Sweet, beautiful Ruth look at your sister-in-law." By this time Orpah had walked down the hill and kept walking toward the city where we had lived. "You must go too. Return to your people and your gods. It's OK. I'll be fine."

How could she say she would be fine? She lost her husband and two sons? Orpah had left and now she wanted me to leave as well? I couldn't--I just couldn't do it. 

Words flowed through my mind that spoke the yearning of my soul. I didn't think of what to day; somehow the words just came: 

"Mother, dear Mother, please don't make me leave you or stop me from following you."
 I wiped a tear and sobbed. 
"Mother, please--
"Wherever you go, I will go.
And wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die
And there will I be buried.
May the Lord do to me and more if anything but death separates you and me."

Naomi looked at me and sighed. She pushed a strand of my hair back like a mother would and glanced at the sky then back at me.  "Well, then, my daughter--you may come with me."

We walked, taking breaks as Naomi needed, until we reached her home city, Bethlehem. People came from their houses and businesses to greet her. She must have known every living soul in the city. How they loved her, too.

Her neighbors seemed surprised to see Naomi traveling without her husband and two sons. They came to her one by one to give a hug. "Are you really Naomi?  Are you well?"

Naomi refused to look the people in the eye. "No, I am not well. I left with a husband and two sons. The Lord has taken them from me." She lifted her head to the sky. "Call me Mara from now on, for the Almighty has treated me bitterly."

And then she walked away. 

We walked to the home she had left behind and found it a mess. Cobwebs and dirt everywhere. We cleaned what was needed to sleep that night then we rested long into the next day.

Oh, if only the Almighty would heal her sadness. I pray He will.

Come back next time to see how God helped my beloved mother.

1.  Orpah decided to ___________________
2.  Ruth chose to ______________________
3.  What did Ruth say to Naomi to show she truly wanted to go with her?
4.  How did the people in Bethlehem greet here?
5.  What name did Naomi want?
6.  Why--what does the name mean?
7.  Did Ruth stay with Naomi even after she told people to call her Mara?

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