Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Belonging (chapter 24)

Read Ruth 4:18-22

The book of Ruth closes with a genealogy, something like the scrolling of credits at the end of a movie. Before the house lights come on and we walk out of our theater, let’s consider why such a lovely story would end with a family tree.

These closing verses of Ruth are the book’s final clue for a widow seeking true happiness and joy, hope, and purpose. A widow’s cure for loneliness and the prescription for joy is found in family and legacy: the epitaph on our tombstone and our notch on the family tree record our people and place—the spot of love on the earth where we belonged.

Do you despair at the thought of empty, lonely years ahead of you? Does your house overwhelm you with memories and silence, holding no promise for joy to once again fill its halls? Please don’t give up! You’re in chapter one of your grief, just as Naomi was when she cried out in bitterness, loneliness, and misery.

But, if you put one foot in front of the other and determine to live in God’s promises, the pages will begin to turn. You’ll move on to the next chapter, and someday your arms will hold the fulfillment of joy and God’s purpose for you. He longs to bring you into his full satisfaction and delight. He does so through the framework of family: "God sets the lonely in families." (Psalm 68:6 NIV)


There are three types of families for most people: the natural family of blood relatives; the extended family of those who happen to live under the same roof; and our sisters and brothers in Christ--our church family.

To which family group do you have access? Which family do you see as the one God has set you in? That doesn't mean you have to like them much, but as you begin to love them with God's love, you'll begin to like them a little bit more and the sense of belonging will begin to grow at last.

Dear Lord,
I praise you and thank you for your love, protection and care for me. I’m amazed and filled with wonder that you've placed me in a family. Continue to teach me all about this relationship and your good plans for me. Continue to heal my brokenness and grief as I trust in you and follow your good plans for me.


  1. "A widow’s cure for loneliness and the prescription for joy is found in family and legacy" - There is much truth in this. Family is very important. But I am struggling with staying in the town my daughter lives in, especially since she has a newborn - or to continue traveling (another type of family/tribe) and visit her a few times a year. When my husband died she lived 1,000 miles away, so I feel that traveling can allow me to be closer to her several times a year. I am much to young to live with her and they do not need me around, they need to make their own life.

  2. Teri, You're creating such a cool legacy for your family! They will enjoy your visits and that grandchild with the RV-ing grandma will be the envy of every kid on the block. I hope you'll be able to visit the Carolina coast sometime too and stop in to see me. Have a sweet Thanksgiving :)

  3. Thanks, Ferree. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I hope to travel on the east coast in 2015. I have a job offer to work in Cody, WY for the summer of 2014.

  4. We spent the night in Cody WY a few years ago, on our way back home from seeing my kids in Seattle, with a couple days at Yellowstone. The drive was beautiful, and we would have liked to learn more about the town, and the rock formations and the impressive dam in the area. It seems like it'd be an interesting place to work for the summer. Plus the rodeos every week!


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