I’ve always wondered why the Book of Ruth was named after Ruth. After all, the story begins with Naomi, and it ends with Naomi. Naomi lost two sons and a husband. If it weren’t for Naomi, there would not have been a Ruth.
As I got older, I understood. People divide people up into two groups—good and bad. Naomi didn’t exactly make the preferred list. Ruth was the good girl, the heroine, the force behind the events that led to that perfectly placed child in the lineage of Christ. She is what we all aspire to be - the idea of a faithful God-honoring woman. Ruth never faltered—never.
We aspire to be a Ruth.
More often times than not,
We’re more like a Naomi.
I’m a Naomi. I really want to be a Ruth. It’s my desire to look more like my Father every single day, but anyone who’s in my close inner circle of friends will tell you that I’m no Ruth.
My goal is Ruth.
My reality is Naomi.
Naomi was demoralized. Dare we say angry? She didn’t mind sharing with anyone who would listen to her that her life was in the gutter. Her lot had not been fair, and she wasn’t about to pretend that it had been fair.
She went through the motions of doing what was right. She returned to Jerusalem. She kept the Hebrew customs. She was faithful and nice to Ruth, but she was not feeling it.
For the first two chapters of Ruth, Naomi was checked out while she was checking all the right boxes.
I’m angry, but I’m ticking the boxes.
My faith isn’t gone, but my heart is on hiatus.
My head knows truth, but my emotions are broken
I thought I’d be a Ruth.
Turns out, I’m a Naomi.
Funny thing is, God doesn’t divide people in the same way that people divide people.
It doesn’t matter if we show up to the game as soon as we realize we’re actually a part of the game, or if we show up to the game in the fifth inning, like Naomi who finally decided to get it together somewhere between harvest season and chapter 3. What matters is that we show up.
Our God doesn’t keep score.
He IS the score.
We see Naomi as a failure, but God didn’t.
Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Also, Naomi’s son.
Ruth birthed Obed, but Naomi raised Obed.
If we seek Him, even when it feels like it’s too late, He takes all of the sin away. He heals us. He covers us. He restores us. He gives us good things.
Because, people are flawed.
Because, He is perfect.
Because, He is all that is good in us.
Because, that’s how much He loves us.
(c) 2107 Victoria Paxton
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Victoria Paxton spends her mornings teaching special education and her afternoons raising two fantastic sons. She's the wife of Mr. Paxton, and, also, the mother of a grown, full of faith daughter who is married to Victoria's favorite son-in-law, Nathan.