Losing a mate is one of the most difficult adjustments in life. We commit our lives to each other and when that person is no longer there, life is lonely. A person feels incomplete as well as grief stricken and often it takes one or two years rather than months to become emotionally stable again following the death of a spouse.
Recovering from a painful divorce can be another time of mourning. A friend of mine who is going through a bitter divorce told me that the experience was even worse than if her mate had died because she is living with the reality of rejection. In addition, with the death of a spouse you receive the comfort of friends but in divorce, some of your friends will be lost altogether and the rest don’t know what to say.
People long for comfort in times of loneliness. The Book of Ruth is an illustration of two lonely women making their way in a man’s world and succeeding with the strong support of their family and faith community.
Questions for the Week
Consider journaling your responses to these questions:
1. What were some of the losses that Naomi and Ruth faced? How did they respond?
2. What challenges did Ruth face as she accompanied her mother-in-law to Judah?
3. Naomi was a person of faith but found herself blaming God for the circumstances in her life. Have you ever experienced such a time? Did your friends listen to your story and allow you to express your feelings?
4. Who is “the Moabite” in our time? What standards of behavior are expected of immigrants?
5. Reflect on how Naomi changed her name from Naomi (meaning “sweet”) to “Mara” (bitter). What were the ways God extended grace to this embittered widow?
6. Who needs you to come alongside of them to remind them that they are loved? What is one action you can take this week to extend God’s grace to this person?
As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get you started:
· Pray for the people you care about who are going through a difficult time.
· Pray that your life will reflect attitudes and behaviors that honor God.
· Ask God to help you be like Boaz and grow as a person who extends gracious care to those who are often forgotten.
Which character do you most relate to in the story? Why?
Like Boaz, we are very blessed. How could you offer an act of compassion and/or generosity to an immigrant or a widow who could use a gift of encouragement?
Read for Next Session: Chapter 10 in The Story