And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask… Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I… If he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. (Ruth 3-4:10)
When I first moved to the UK with my new English husband, verses from the book of Ruth floated through my mind: “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” I knew I had left my home in the States – at least for the first five to seven years, as was our agreement (writes she, now eighteen years later!). But I hadn’t thought about adopting my husband’s people as my own. As with adopting children, we find that we have not only enough love for the children currently in our family, but an abundance with which to love the new member too. So has it been with adopting a nation – as I write in Finding Myself in Britain.
Ruth too was living in a foreign land, but she has seemingly lost everything when her husband dies. Yet she commits herself to her mother-in-law Naomi and says she will not leave her. Naomi then hatches a plan to provide for Ruth. It’s risky – Ruth presenting herself on the threshing floor where Boaz slept could have ruined her reputation. Ruth has reason to fear, but Boaz tells her not to. He will act honorably towards her, becoming her kinsman-redeemer in marrying her and thereby providing for her a place of safety and protection.
What a balm those words from Boaz must have felt to Ruth – don’t be afraid. With them she knew that her future was secure and that she wouldn’t be a rejected widow. She would have life and family and joy.
As I reflect on this story, I think of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Boaz said yes to Ruth. What “Yeses” might God have in store for us?
Prayer: Lord God, we sometimes gaze into the unknown with fear. As with Ruth, may we walk forward with faith and hope.