We Live Wrapped in God’s Blessing
Chaplain Leigh Ann Min, M.Div., BCC
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
There are many times when we are facing hardships in our lives that we might feel like God is far from us. But, God has promised never to leave or forsake those who are called by his name. The book of Ruth is a story which can illustrate this truth for us.
“Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.’ She said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’ So she went.” (Ruth 2:1-3a NRSV)
Ruth went to the fields to collect grain so that she and Naomi could have food to eat. Even though she went because of a need, she went on her own initiative, doing what she could to take care of herself and Naomi by practicing an existing custom to glean wheat in the fields. She also went with a hopeful attitude; even though she was a foreigner in a foreign land, she hoped to find favor among the people of God as she had found with Naomi’s (her mother-in-law) blessing.
Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, ‘To whom does this young woman belong?’ The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, ‘She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, “Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.” So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.’” (Ruth 2:5-7 NRSV)
By the hand of God, Ruth found herself in the field of a landowner, Boaz, (a kinsman on her husband’s side of the family). When Boaz arrived to inspect the work for the day, he got curious about the hardworking foreign woman who was gleaning in his field.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.’ Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?’ But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!’ (Ruth 2:8-12 NRSV)
Upon hearing Ruth’s story, (how she had left your native land to stay with Naomi, to live in her land and serve her God), Boaz decided to do what he could to help Ruth and Naomi live better in his land. So, he blesses Ruth, promising her physical safety and nourishment. -- Ruth goes on in her life to receive more blessings from God, but the point here is this: in times of need, God will provide for us, from his hand or from the hands of others.
May the Lord, who is our refuge and strength, continue to bless you and keep you – especially in your times of need. May you be motivated to respond in thanksgiving like Ruth the Moabite when she found favor which God provided her from the hands of a stranger. Remember: God loves us and we are not alone. For we belong to God. We are his children, his beloved, who sometimes find ourselves in foreign lands and foreign situations. But, there is no situation that God cannot turn into a blessing for those he loves. Thanks be to God. Amen.