Being a Friend Who Stays
By Jennifer Slattery
“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave 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
It was the second time I’d been uprooted in a year. The previous spring, our family said goodbye to some of our dearest friends and moved cross country only to be facing yet another move.
With our belongings crammed in two large story areas, we once again said our goodbyes, not knowing where we’d ultimately land. My husband had found temporary work, for which we were grateful, but once his contract ended, we’d likely need to move again, to God only knew where.
Most of our friends, it seemed, forgot us before we crossed the Louisiana-Texas border, and I felt alone and discarded.
So I was surprised when Jenny arrived at our storage locker when I returned months later. She grabbed my daughter’s hand with a smile. “Can I take her for the day?”
Deeply touched, I fought tears. Though it might seem a small gesture, it meant so much.
Ruth, a woman from Moab, showed this same kind of love to her mother-in-law at a time of great needed. The death of the men in their family had made them widows during a famine. And yet, all was not lost. Young Ruth could remarry—if only she’d leave her mother-in-law, destitute as she was, and return home.
But Ruth refused, vowing to stay by her mother-in-law’s side, even if it meant personal harm, and God rewarded her because of it. Fast forward to the end of her story, and you’ll see God used Ruth’s selflessness to catch the eye of her “kinsman redeemer,” the man who married her and cared for both women.
We all want friends who’ll stick close during hard times. But are we that type of friend to others? It’s easy to want a Ruth, but it’s much harder to love like one.
The next time you’re forced to choose between showing love and self-protecting, choose love.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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Originally published Wednesday, 15 May 2019.