I stomp the snow off my boots and enter the café. The fireplace in the corner catches my eye and I veer around the maze of tables, making a beeline directly for the booth closest to the heat. I remove my snow-covered hat and scarf, shivering as melted flakes trickle down my back. Squalls had blanketed the city today leaving 30 cms in its path. I set my journal and recorder in front of me. I review my questions, making a few slight adjustments.
A rush of cold air fills my space. “Are you Darlene?” Ruth’s words are forced in between chattering teeth.
I can’t help but laugh. She’s covered head-to-foot in snow. I stand and extend my hand. “Yes. I’m sorry for chuckling but you look like the abominable snowman.”
“A huge white creature.”
She glances at her coat. “I guess I do.” Her button-brown eyes smile back at me. “I’m not used to your Canadian winters.” She shakes off the snow and removes her coat.
“Sit on this side, closer to the fireplace. It’ll warm you.”
We slide into the booth just as the waitress comes to take our order. We decide on hot chocolate and chocolate chip muffins. Perfect treat for a snowy day.
“I appreciate you coming.” I press record on the device. “Tell me, how hard was it for you to make the decision to go with Naomi?”
“I didn’t have to think twice. It was the right thing to do.”
“She needed me. I needed her. The decision was easy.”
Simple answer, but full of truths.
“Not everyone would be so loyal.”
She adjusts the cream scarf covering her head and tucks raven strands of hair back under it. She shrugs. “I loved her and God called me to follow her.”
“Was that when you gave your heart to Him?”
“Tell us how it happened.”
The waitress comes with our order, setting the steaming cups of hot chocolate in front of us. My mouth waters as the cocoa scent fills the area. We both take a sip.
“Oh, that’s good.” Ruth closes her eyes as if savoring the flavor. “Where were we? Oh yah, my Jehovah. I saw the difference he made in Naomi’s life and knew I wanted that. I not only made the decision to go with her but to accept her God. Then and there.”
Her words hit me on the importance of how we live out our faith. People watch our every move.
“How did you remain hopeful after losing your husband and believe enough to trust and marry again?” I break off a piece of muffin and pop it into my mouth.
She exhales and glances out the window. “I just refused to give up. I knew God had more in store for me, so I trusted in His plan and leading.”
I suppress a smile. Okay, Lord. I get it. Your plan. Your timing. It’s the one thing You keep showing me in all of my conversations with these women.
I check my list of questions and decide on another one. “What were you thinking when you laid down at Boaz’s feet in the middle of the night?”
“Are you crazy?”
She sips her hot chocolate. “I thought for sure I’d gone mad. No decent and reputable woman would have done what I did. However, I made sure I slept at his feet and not his side.”
“And he noticed.”
“Did you seek him out of loyalty for Naomi and your late husband, or love?”
She taps her thumb on the handle of her mug. “I’d have to say a bit of both. Yes, out of loyalty to my amazing mother-in-law. She’d done so much for me. I wanted to repay her. Boaz was wealthy and I knew he’d be able to provide for both of us. I’d also grown to care for him deeply in a short time frame.” She took the last bite of muffin and washed it down with her drink. “I never dreamed I’d do something so drastic like this, but in the end, yes, I loved Boaz.”
“You showed your loyalty by taking a step of faith, trusted God, and were rewarded.”
Her eyes brighten. “Yes!”
How many times have I stayed within the four walls of my comfort zone and missed opportunities where God could have used me? I shiver, not from the cold, but from the disappointment of failed attempts of not letting God use the gifts He’s given me. When will I learn?
Ruth chose a selfless act out of loyalty to her mother-in-law and her faithfulness to God. We can all learn from this Moabite woman. Will we be loyal to our Lord and step out of our safety shelters? Let Him use us in ways we never thought possible?
Or will we stay cramped and stagnant, hiding from our true purpose in life?
We need to choose.
What say you? Is God asking you to do something right now but you’re digging in your heels? What does being loyal look like to you?
Ruth 1:16 (VOICE)
Stop pushing me away,
insisting that I stop following you!
Wherever you go, I will go.
Wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people.
Your God will be my God.