I Met Ruth

By John Welch

It is easy to imagine that everyone leads a life of pleasant happiness that many enjoy. It is easy to believe that all family situations are good and happy. But, they are not. There are still many people who endure much of that pictured in the Old and New Testaments. We are removed from those days only by the plastics, polyesters and automobiles around us. Otherwise, the world is the same.

I met Ruth the other day. No, she wasn’t really the Ruth of the Old Testament and her name wasn’t really Ruth. Yet, somehow I felt a closer sympathy with that godly woman who finally married Boaz, for having met this woman.

It was the one day of the year that the church here meets at the unusual hour of 11:00 a.m. rather than the usual time of 9:30 a.m. I always worry that some visitor customarily go to the building at the normal hour trying to insure that no one will despair of worshipping the Lord by our change in the time of service.

She was sitting on the front porch of the meeting house modestly dressed and with her 8 year old son, Eddie. She had driven through an hour’s worth of terrible traffic which was the reason for the change in our hour of service. She had driven by the building the night before to be sure that she knew where the church building was so that she would have no difficulty locating it on the Lord’s day. She was intent on waiting there on the porch for the services with confidence that the worshippers would eventually come to join her. We walked the three blocks to my home to await the service.

She was from the East coast and had been a Christian only 9 months. She was brimful of zeal and glowing talk of her good brethren back home and everything that the forgiving Son of God had done for her. She was about 48 or 9 I suppose and her face and hands showed that she had been familiar with the out-of-doors and hard work.

She told me that she had married late in life at about 40 years old. They had been blessed with a baby at this late date. Then, about 2 months before their son was born her husband died.

She was left with a baby, a tiny income and a 10 acre holding. For the eight years since then she had lived humbly off that income. She told me about raising cattle on the property to sell and eat; about milking a cow for her and her child. She spoke of hearing the gospel and obeying, going to meetings, and teaching. She told me about hey neighbors who let her mow their field and about putting up 800 bales of hay by herself. She spoke about how wasteful the big cornpickers were; as she went through the winter fields after them and kicked the ice-encrusted ears of corn loose and in two days could fill her pickup —

I had been pretending to be half-listening while I studied my lesson, but I had to leave at that point. There is only so much that a man can stand. The vision of Ruth gleaning the fields as Boaz instructed his servants to drop extra amounts for her was getting too strong. My eyes were getting too moist. She was speaking too plainly of faith, hope, and courage. The powerful love of a mother struggling to provide in a hard circumstance was too much. May God bless her and all of those like her!

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4).

Truth Magazine XXII: 45, p. 722
November 16, 1978