Can you think of a better ending to this beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi? As I read this I think of nothing but praises to God. Is this not the perfect example of God taking care of us thru trials and tribulations? Does it not show us that while we may hurt and find life difficult that He is still with us all the while painting a much bigger picture than what we may realize at the time?
First, let's look specifically to Naomi and the part she has in this story. When we begin reading the book of Ruth, Naomi has just lost her husband and both of her sons. She is living in a city that is not home and the only family close are her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. When Naomi and Ruth move back to Bethlehem she asks her family and friends to call her 'Mara'. Mara means bitter. Naomi felt bitter after what she had recently experienced.
Now, let's jump ahead to the end of the book of Ruth. Naomi has been given a grandson to carry on the family name. She is his caregiver and she feels blessed. Her life has come full circle from pain and sorrow found in grief to the joy and wonder of new life. The Lord has taken her grief and replaced it with joy.
Let's now take a step back to look at the how God took their grief and made it into a great and marvelous plan that affected more than just Ruth and Naomi. Both Ruth and Naomi experienced pain found in grieving the loss of a loved one. They both lived among people they didn't know for a time and had to find a way to support themselves without their husbands. Life was difficult for awhile. I'm sure they wondered many times what God's plan was for them and why He allowed their husbands to die. But, if they hadn't experienced the loss of their husbands would they have returned to Bethlehem? Would Ruth have met Boaz? Would Ruth and Boaz have a son named Obed? A son that would father Jesse, the father of King David?
Neither Ruth nor Naomi lived to know David or know of his reign as King of Israel, but can you imagine how they would've felt if they knew where their story led? I am just in complete amazement when I look at how all of this story came together over years and years. It gives me a great assurance that, while I may have some incredibly difficult times in my life, God's plan is bigger and deeper and wider than my pain and that there is a purpose and a reason to it all.
Oh, how I thank God today for this assurance that He gives to us. An assurance that He is always there working out "the big picture" and taking both the good and the bad and working them for His good and perfect plan.