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.”Ruth 1:16
These are the profound and powerful words from Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi had lost everything. Her husband and two sons died. She was too old to remarry but she wanted to give her two daughters-in-law a chance for a new life. So Naomi released both of them to return to their homeland to find a new husband and a new life.
Ruth refused. She was going to faithfully stay by Naomi’s side to the very end.
God draws near to those who have this same attitude about Him. When we are willing to say to God, “Where You go, I’ll go” and “where You stay, I will stay,” God can use us powerfully.
For some, saying that we’ll go wherever God wants us to go is the more difficult challenge. It could mean uprooting one’s family, work, friends, home and life in general. For others, saying that we’ll stay wherever God wants us to stay is the more difficult challenge. Sometimes, being the one to stay and faithfully invest in one place while you watch others leave can be really painful.
Whether we are going or staying, in the end, it’s not really about us. It is about staying connected to the One who is asking us to go or asking us to stay. For Ruth, it wasn’t about where Naomi went, it was about staying connected to Naomi. We see Moses say the same thing to God.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’…But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”Exodus 33:1-2, 15
Moses didn’t want to go if God wasn’t with him. For Moses, it was more about connection and intimacy with God than it was about the fulfillment of the Promised Land.
Is that true of us and God? Are we willing to say, “God, where you go I’ll go, and where you stay I’ll stay.” And also, “If your Presence does not go with me, do not send me away from here.”
Here is a worship song that expresses this same theme: