First published July 12, 2011
Ruthie married an immigrant.
His parents, hungry, had left their country. There weren’t many close relatives, wasn’t much holding them back. It was mom and dad and a couple sons, off to make the best of things.
Ruthie married one of the sons. She, in her own land, crossed her culture, and his, to marry. I have no idea why. I wonder how marginalized she was in her own country. I wonder how compassionate she was for refugees. I wonder why it has to be one or the other, why looking up from the bullied or looking down in pity.
What if she was just Ruthie?
What if you are just you?
You meet a guy from over the border and you marry and then he dies. And his dad dies. And his brother dies. And you live and grieve. Every day.
Until one day your mother-in-law decides to go home and you passionately, dramatically, gut-wrenchingly say that you will abandon your country, abandon your gods, abandon everything except your relationship with her.
Suddenly you discover what matters.
Ruthie’s great-grandson by her second husband became a king. After being a refugee. After growing up at the margins. After showing compassion. But when Ruthie was standing one day talking to Naomi, she didn’t know that she would have a child. She didn’t know she would have anything at all. She just knew that as her mother-in-law was going back home feeling a failure, she had to go too.
Sometimes, even when we don’t know why, even when we don’t understand, even when there is no promise of a better day or of a hopeful future or of assured success, we are presented with the opportunity to throw our lot with the God of a person that we don’t want to leave.