“So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrive in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest” (Ruth 1:22).

Is it possible to have faith in a God you’re mad at? The book of Ruth gives us reason to believe that it is.

Naomi’s life had crumbled. In a short time, she lost her husband and two sons. As an older woman in those days, her life was at a dead-end. Understandably, she resented God and blamed him for her trouble (Ruth 1:13, 21).

Naomi needed a miracle, but her only hint of hope is found in the sacrificial love of her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Ruth was young enough to find a new husband, comfort, and legacy. She didn’t need to drive her life into a dead-end, but she refused to leave Naomi.

Readers are left assembling a couple of puzzling pieces to figure out Ruth’s reason for her profound loyalty. She said to Naomi:

“Wherever you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Keep in mind that Ruth was a Moabite. She didn’t grow up worshiping the God of Israel, but now she’s binding herself to Naomi in his name. The details are few, but this much is certain: what she knew about this God compelled her into unbreakable faithfulness.

For the rest of Ruth and Naomi’s story, there are no miracles, dreams, or words from God. They don’t witness dramatic signs and wonders, but the God who Naomi blamed provides a way for their family to be redeemed: “As it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech” (Ruth 2:3).

Sometimes, when life is drowned in troubles, we’re waiting for a dramatic miracle. Naomi and Ruth show us that God can work in seemingly mundane ways, like a friendship or happenstance meeting, but don’t underestimate the magnitude of what he’s up to. We learn in Matthew 1 that Ruth’s random day in Boaz’s field eventually led to the birth of Jesus.

Like Ruth, Jesus didn’t need to drive his life into a dead-end, but he refused to leave us, and through his sacrificial love, he redeemed God’s whole family, and knowing that is enough to compel us into faithfulness. When we’re angry at him, we can remember that he is unbreakably faithful to us through every high, low, and mundane moment of our lives.

Questions for reflection:

  1. When have you been angry with God?
  2. What does the story of Naomi and Ruth say about how God responds to our hopelessness?
  3. How might God be working in the simple moments of your life to heal you?