Naomi is anxious to know how things went. Ruth reports what Boaz has done and also his generosity in sending her back with a shawl full of barley. His words, “Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed” are significant. For on Naomi’s return to Bethlehem, she accused God, saying, “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty” (1:21).
Naomi’s emptiness is a reference to her lack of family: she left with a husband and two sons, and returned with Ruth, the widow of one of her two dead sons. God is at work in Naomi’s story to address her emptiness and her loss. Not only has God given her the companionship of Ruth, but through Ruth, God is working to restore her to a family.
But, Ruth has to wait. Literally, Naomi instructs her to “sit still”. By contrast, Naomi tells her Boaz, “will not rest” until he has settled the matter today. Both in Ruth’s waiting, and Boaz’s acting, God is at work.
In the face of our losses and emptiness, it is God who comes to fill our lives afresh. Where do we need God to fill us with life today? And as we wait for things in our lives to be resolved over which we have little control, do we have the faith to “sit still” and allow God to work in our places of emptiness?