“But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!”
When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together to Bethlehem.” (Ruth 1:16-18)
Ruth had a hard decision. Go the safe route with Orpah, back to her people and familiarity, or travel into the unknown. Commentaries will say that Ruth loved her MIL so much that she couldn’t part with her. That might be the case, but I think Ruth was willing to travel the more difficult path. She wouldn’t leave her MIL in crisis.
She had no idea where she was going. She knew very little of the God of the Israelites. And even Naomi knows she won’t be having more sons and Ruth probably isn’t going to be “miss bachelorette” as a moabite woman in Judah.
Ruth had a lot of unknowns and her future looked grim and she had every reason to turn back. Who can fault Orpah for making the decision to return?
On this breast cancer journey we don’t really have a choice to travel this path of the unknown. We don’t get the option of turning back.
When I was diagnosed with IBC I had about three weeks of testing before I started chemo. During that time I was sure they would tell me it was all a mistake. It wasn’t. In fact things got worse when they found it in the other breast. I tried to figure out how I could get out of having chemo. I couldn’t. Then with the mastectomies I traveled to U of M sure they would tell me that since the cancer was gone after chemo I wouldn’t have to have mastectomies. I did. Now I am at the eve of starting radiation. I don’t want to do radiation. I will.
I am taking the path of big question marks. The difficult road.
But I’m not alone.
Just as Ruth traveled the difficult road with Naomi, John describes Jesus as the friend of all friends:
“When the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.” (John 16:12)
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Ruth stuck with Naomi. Jesus walks with you.