“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:15-17)
Sometimes friends are like prickly pears – no matter how hard you try, they push you away. Naomi was so upset about her life situation that she literally told people to call her “bitter” (Mara) instead of “pleasant” (Naomi). The amazing thing about Ruth is that she wasn’t phased by Naomi’s attitude. In fact, she kept giving Naomi the very thing that she didn’t want: an encouraging friendship.
Ruth could have written Naomi off. She could have decided that the relationship was too much work. She could have done a lot of things, but she didn’t. She stuck with her mother-in-law for the long haul. She was a friend to Naomi when Naomi seemingly had no other friends. Ruth was both a blessing and a blessed person because of her perseverance.
Do you have a friendship that requires perseverance? Don’t give up even if the person pushes you away. Go the distance, and you will be blessed, too.
Lord, help me to have patience when I have friends who are hurting. Help me not to write them off or allow me to push them away. Instead, give me eyes to see their need, and give me perseverance in pursuing them. Let me be a blessing to those with whom I carry a friendship.