Pain is relentless in this world. It skews our perception and debilitates us from seeing the good that comes from the opportunities from pain. Presence of friends is sometimes all we need to go through pain. We need friends in our lives who will not back out when times get rough, and who will stay and fight with us to encourage us, and to pick us back up off the ground. We need friends to guide us back to a hope. It is beneficial to both the one in need and the one comforting. Because of the inevitability of blinding pain in this world, friends are vital to guide us back to Him.
The Book of Ruth is about Hesed, which is the Hebrew word for undying love. This is shown through the friendship between Naomi and Ruth. Ruth’s name means friend. Hence why a book about Naomi is called Ruth as she learned the value of friends. Naomi lost all she had and saw absolutely no future for herself. She lost all sense of hope. Her husband died and shortly after, both her sons died as well. This left Naomi alone with her two daughter-in-law’s, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi is hurt deeply and soaking in her pain and focusing on the lost. When we focus on the lost, we blind ourselves of seeing what lays ahead. God’s plan is much greater than any plan we set for ourselves. Setting plans for our lives sets us up for pain which blinds us from seeing God’s ultimate plan; find friends to guide you back to His plan. Friendships are vital to walking back towards God.
Ruth 1:14 tells us this, “And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” The definition of cling is to attach oneself to. Ruth clings to Naomi at the perfect time. In the next couple of verses, Naomi insists Ruth to leave, but Ruth refuses to leave. Their friendship is until death. Ruth’s commitment as a friend to Naomi is what Hesed is all about. God rewards those who carry others burdens alongside them. We see in the dialogue between Boaz and Ruth in Ruth 2:11-12 that this is true. Ruth gives up everything she knows to encourage and comfort Naomi. Not only should we find a friend who will do this for us, but we also need to be this type of friend to someone else.
Being a friend to someone in need also gains you a friend in the future when you are in need. (Ruth 3:1-5) Naomi puts her pain aside to help out her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Do not allow pain to refrain you from loving. We must love at all costs and do such through people. Personal pain gives you experience in a new field and allows sympathy to enter into your world. That sympathy allows us to relate better, strengthening relationships and permits us to grow together as community.
I love the story in the book of Ruth. It is showing us that when all hope is lost, relationships are vital to bring us back to hope. When we lose hope, we lose the purpose of life. When pain comes your way, open your eyes and look for the benefits. Do not just focus on what was lost. In pain, we seek our own comfort and turn selfish. We need to seek His comfort and look at what God is doing through our pain. In Ruth 4, Naomi ends up being purposeful to Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. This marriage was strictly God using Naomi to help Ruth. Dr. Randall Smith states, “Naomi was trying to save her life; God was setting up saving the world.” We need to stop looking at pain as if God isn’t for us. He loves us and will not forsake us. He will use us. We need to open our eyes to see the goodness coming from the pain. Be the Ruth in someone’s life. Carry the hurt with someone.