Bad news travels quickly in a small town. There was a tragic accident in a remote area of Prudhoe Bay near the village of Deadhorse, Alaska. A father named Eli and his two sons were among those killed. After the funeral, Eli’s wife, Naomi took stock of her situation and decided to go back home to Virginia. There was only one problem. Both sons married native Alaskans and both women still lived with Naomi. Where would they go? They certainly couldn’t live in Virginia? Could they?
Naomi told both women of her plans and suggested they immediately return home. One woman took her advice and left the next day but Ruth refused. When Naomi insisted, Ruth refused again saying: “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Together, the two grieving women wept.
Returning to rural Virginia was going to be much more difficult than Naomi or Ruth imagined. Life would be different… especially for Ruth. Before they even arrived, the local rumor mill was churning and the main topic was Ruth. One busybody said, “I was told Ruth’s tribe doesn’t believe in God but follows a another religion that worships a whole bunch of different gods with names like Odin and Thor. Who ever heard of such a thing? Wasn’t Thor in a comic book?”
When Naomi and Ruth arrived at the old family house just outside of town, there was a crowd of friends and curious onlookers ready to greet them. “Is that really you, Naomi? We are so sorry?”
“God has made my life very bitter,” Naomi replied. “I hope that coming home will help us heal.”
Ruth immediately went to the local restaurant looking for a job. The restaurant owner was Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi. Boaz reassured Ruth, “Listen, you stay right here and work with us as long as necessary. If you need food or anything else, let me know and I will try to get it for you.”
Ruth thanked him warmly. “Why are you being so kind to me? I’m not from around here.”
“Yes I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about the love and kindness you have shown Naomi since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother to live among complete strangers. May God bless you for being so kind.”
That evening, Ruth told Naomi about Boaz and how kind he was to her. When several of the young men in town tried to ‘harrass’ Ruth as she waited on tables, Boaz was quick to rush to her aid. One evening, as Ruth left to drive home, she found a shopping bag full of food and supplies in the front seat. She knew it could only be from Boaz.
Next: The exciting conclusion to the modernized story of Ruth. If you can’t wait, you can read the original story in the Bible in the book of… Ruth.