Wherever you go I will go, whenever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severly, if anything but death separates you and me….

Ruth 1:16-17

 

The book of Ruth (which means friend in Hebrew), one of the best stories of friendship and loyalty,that was relevant several thousand years ago and even today. The "where ever you go" verse really has stuck in my mind since a summer wedding on a balmy evening in Savannah. I had been invited to this wedding of a much deserving "Ruth" who had found her "Boaz", this Ruth looked her husband to be in the eyes and recited this verse to him as a commitment to him. Apparently this was in her plan only and not anybody else's. Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the old church.

Loyalty and friendship are such and arbitrary term in today's society. Spouses are loyal to each other until times get rough, then either one or both decide not to build on their friendship by working together through the issue, so they split, for example. People are loyal to their friends as long as that person can provide what they need or tell them what they want to hear, if not good bye.

Ruth is a woman to be admired a loyalty that would not be shaken even in the toughest of circumstances. During the famine, both of Naomi's sons and husband passed away. Ruth could have easily left to go back to her home and start anew. Orpah was very reluctant to leave, while Ruth was bent on putting Naomi and her needs first. It really makes a person wonder what these women's relationship was like during the good times. What did they laugh about? Did they fight on occasion to only have the fight forgotten about after five minutes? Whatever the relationship was like, Ruth was going to wherever Naomi went and nothing would separate them.

Ruth enjoyed Naomi's company in the good times, but was tested to its fullest when she had to give up the chance to make a new life for herself after her husband passed. Ruth went with Naomi to Bethlehem and started gleaning the fields to support her and Naomi. The beauty comes in how God rewarded her for her faithfulness and loyalty. God provided Ruth Boaz who saw her for what she truly was and loved her for that.

 Love is truly a choice and not a feeling. Choose to love today.

 

 

 

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