My 30th high school reunion is this summer in Jackson, Mississippi. I haven’t been able to make any of the reunions thus far. So, maybe we’ll make it back this year. But probably not.
One thing is for sure. The people that return this summer for the reunion will not be the same as those who graduated in 1987. Even if we were to look the same, which we don’t; our life experiences have so deeply affected us, changed us, broken us, and matured us, that when we return home after having been gone all these years, we are not the same people.
There has been marriage, children, new cities, new sets of friends… there has been the heartache of death, foreclosure, and even divorce. Some of us are followers of Jesus now.
We are not who we once were, nor are we who we are going to be.
Because the journey changes us. It shapes us.
The shaping process of the journey is often quite painful. Sometimes we just want to go back — back to way it was before. Before the stress. Before the complicated life. Before the loss.
This is what happened to Naomi. Having left her hometown ten years previous, she is going back home, but with a shattered dream, as a broken and destitute woman.
In this condition, Naomi’s instinct is to go back home to where life had been good. But what she discovers is that you really can’t go back. You can go back to the same place, but you can’t go back to the same life.
Literarily speaking, the story of Ruth is a J curve.
Consider the shape of a capital J.
At the bottom of the J-Curve, you can’t see the future. It’s hard to see a new dream. New life. Resurrection. All you know is the peace of the past and the pain of the present… and you want to go back.
I know that there is a number of us living at the bottom of the curve today.
What I want you to know is that God is at work at the bottom the J-Curve, doing things in our lives that can only be done… there… at the bottom, where grace flows downhill and God brings life out of death.
This is Naomi’s story. What we see in her experience is going to speak to where many of us are today.