This study will take you through the book of Ruth a chapter at a time. The book Ruth tracks the human emotions of despair, providence, culture, and control. The characters in Ruth must face these emotions and look to see how God is involved in each of them.
Life hurts. There’s nothing very profound about that statement. Anyone can see the pain and suffering that surround us. The existence of evil and suffering in the world can keep us from trusting God. “Why would an all-powerful God allow so much pain and suffering in the world?” we may ask. It is a fair question.
The presence of God has been referred to as his “invisible providence”. The word “providence” comes from the Latin, providentia meaning to “see ahead of time.” The book of Ruth shows that Almighty God, in his providentia, is arranging the timing of Naomi and Ruth’s initiatives to accomplish His gracious and loving purposes and plans.
Picture yourself at a time when you felt like an outsider in a community. Did you feel bold, or were you hesitant to talk to others? Did you feel awkward navigating the cultural differences between yourself and others?
Life is like a grindstone, someone once said, and whether it grinds you down or polishes you depends on what you are made of. It also depends on your view of God. The question is, even in the hardest circumstances is God in control? If he is, that means he can change the bitterness of our hard experiences.