Wednesday, July 29, 2020
“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons…They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.” [Ruth 1:1, 3-4]
The biblical book known as Ruth begins with loss upon loss. A famine causes the family to uproot and leave their home, not unlike many today who have become immigrants or refugees in foreign lands because their homeland had become inhospitable, unable to sustain life that would allow them to flourish. Then a premature death interrupts this family’s life, with the father not seeing his sons into adulthood. He was not present to see his son’s marry their brides and before the marriages of Mahlon and Chilion bring forth the gift of children, both sons die prematurely, leaving not one woman but three women now as widows. I read just the other day of a young dad of four, a pastor who was helping someone with a roadside emergency. He was killed when another vehicle slammed into the scene. Or last week when I read of a young man of 20 who had to become the guardian of his 16 and 13 year old sisters because their parents were both died of COVID-19. We hear the plaintive cry of the psalmist, “How long, O Lord.” The loss in the book of Ruth may seem like distant history, but loss impacts all of our lives on many different levels and in varying intensities. We have all experienced losses due to COVID-19, from simple routines and for some munch more. Yet, other losses continue to take a toll on our lives as well. What losses fill you with grief these days? We know psychologically and spiritually that the only healthy way to the other side of grief is through the grief. May we trust that God will collect our tears and water our souls with hope, as others come alongside and accompany us through the valley of the shadow of darkness.
Holy One, losses are never easy and oft times I want to get over them without really having to go through them. Help me to trust that you will go with me through the tear-stained tunnels of grief, where in time, a ray of light will pierce the damp darkness and open me to a vista with renewed promise. Walk with me, I pray. Amen.