Today’s Readings: Ruth 1; Acts 26; Jeremiah 36; 45; Psalm 9
Every now and then God reveals himself to us. We have to be present and looking for him. When we are, these moments are enough to sustain us. They can take us out of dark places and into the light.
This weekend I took a much needed break to be with a group of women I’ve been close to for years. For the first time in a long time I was able to sleep through the night, eat food while sitting down and have some quiet rest. A few hours after I left home, my husband called to say that his uncle had passed away very suddenly. An accident, and then one short day for all to say goodbye. This man was in so many ways a mentor for my husband. He loved his wife, his children, his grandchildren and even his great grandchildren. He had a hand in raising them all. His flame was blown out in an instant and we are left with such loss and sadness. My mind has gone over and over what it would be like to lose my husband so quickly. To not know when I got in the car and left that morning that I may never get to talk with him again. That I may lose the very essence of who he is to me and our children in the span of one short day.
I hadn’t read my readings for today until this afternoon. Hadn’t done my homework until the last minute. When I opened my Bible to the very first chapter assigned for us today, there they were. At the very end of Ruth chapter 1 were our wedding vows.
“Do not urge me to leave you…for wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die and there I will be buried…” Ruth (1:16-17)
My breath got caught in my chest when I read these sacred words. When I chose them 8 years ago, it was because I had heard them and just liked them. I found them on the internet. I had never searched for them within the pages of my Bible. Today for the very first time I discovered them in God’s word! I didn’t know that these vows were initially made between a mother and her daughter-in law after the death of her son. The story of Ruth begins with the death of three husbands. It begins with Naomi telling her daughters- in-law that they must leave her and go home as her husbands and sons have died. Instead of abandoning her, Ruth insists upon staying at Naomi’s side. I love this story. It reminds me that as Christian’s we are here to love one another, support one another and hold each other when grief and tragedy strikes. I love that God brought this scripture to us today in our family’s time of darkness. It shows us that he’s here, that he loves us and that our sadness on this earth is only temporary. It shows us that God keeps his promises. Finding these words gave me absolute assurance that His plan is alive and working in our lives.
Although I don’t have much to add about historical context or broader connections today, I wanted to share this encounter I had with God! It’s so exciting in the midst of our sadness and fear. We have a very big week coming up with medical tests for our little boy and my husband flying out to be with his family and say goodbye to a man he dearly loved. I hope you don’t mind if I share our vows here to let him know that God is alive in our marriage. If you are married, I hope you’ll take the time to share your vows with one another this week. We don’t know when our heavenly Father will call us home.
I, Jillian, take you Lynden to be my husband. I will trust you and honor you, I will laugh with you and cry with you, I will love you faithfully. Through the best and the worst, the difficult and the easy. I will always be there whatever may come. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep. For where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people shall be my people and your God my God.