But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” -Ruth 1:16 (NIV)
I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on my 20 years of ministry.
The good times… the not so good times and the downright stressful times. (The good, bad and ugly) As I was thinking about the times that were challenging, the story of Ruth came to mind.
Ruth was a Moabite woman that married into an Israelite family. After the death of her husband and the other male leaders in her home, Naomi, her mother-in-law came to Ruth. Naomi explained that the famine in her homeland had finally ended and she was going to return.
But Naomi advised both Ruth and her other daughter-in-law to return to their relatives. Though Naomi was a poor widow, she knew the other women were still young enough to remarry and live good lives. She wished them the best and urged them to start over.
Ruth could have left.
She could have returned to everything that was familiar to her. But she felt a protective rush for the older woman she had grown to love. So, she spoke kindly and reassured her mother-in-law, promising to stay by her side.
When everyone else was willing to give up on Naomi, Ruth stuck with her. It’s easy to be faithful to someone in good times—when there’s more than enough to eat, when there are big ministry wins and the church is growing.
But it’s much harder to be loyal when it feels like everything is falling apart.
Maybe it’s a tough time within your ministry and stress is coming from various directions. But just like He saw Ruth, God sees your faithfulness. He sees you right where you are and your story isn’t over yet. You are not done because God is not done with you.
I pray that you either have or will find a faithful friend and a loyal companion. I hope Holy Spirit prompts you to remember – even when things aren’t going right, God is still on the throne, He is still in control and He loves you!