July 20, 2015
READ: Ruth 1:1-22
I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me? (v.21).
Finishing up a long day’s work, I pressed the touch screen on my computer one last time and saw a date that was very familiar. Just like that it hit me: today is my dad’s birthday. Quickly my thoughts went to my mum. Widowed 20 years ago, my mother is a living testimony of God’s provision and strength for those who come face to face with life’s hard unpredictability.
Lonely days, difficult decisions, redefined relationships. The human mind can only begin to predict what the death of a spouse means to the one who remains. The reality is altogether different and all too real. As our society becomes more transitory, many widows and widowers must learn to navigate this drastic change in life without family members nearby. But regardless of the busyness of our lives, the Bible reveals that the care of the widow rests first with her family and then with the church (1 Timothy 5:3-16).
Carrying the responsibility to care for the vulnerable (Exodus 22:22-23) can lead to blessing as we fulfil God’s call to protect (Job 24:21-24). Proverbs 15:25 tells us, “The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but he protects the property of widows.” Ruth’s commitment to Naomi became a source of God’s blessing for both women (Ruth 1:16), one that extended into subsequent generations (4:13-20).
Likewise, Naomi’s story proves that providing justice for widows extends beyond business or financial transactions (vv.9-10). Support groups and monthly activities are helpful in creating community for the widowed, but “God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6) to remind them that they’re still needed and—most of all—loved. Loved by Him and by those who live out His love.
365-day-plan: Mark 7:1-37
Read Luke 2:36-38 and consider how God used Anna’s widowhood in the Messianic revelation of Jesus.
Take inventory of the widows and other lonely people you know. What are some practical ways you can build relationships with them? How does God view the lonely? How should we?