There are many ongoing theological debates amongst Christians, one of which I've been looking into lately is: can Christians be possessed by the devil, demons & evil spirits? Jim Osman, in his series, Spiritual Warfare: Truth or Territory (American Gospel); Justin Peters Ministries (Christ Alone: American Gospel), Matt Mcmillan Ministries & Doreen Virtue all say an emphatic "No!" & advise against deliverance ministries. Quoting scripture such as:
...having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise...(Eph. 1:13)
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18)
"...does not sin..." is the key phrase in the second verse (I'll briefly touch on the first verse later). Jesus is the only one born of God who does not sin! Therefore, Jesus is the only one not touched by the evil one. Living in this fallen, sinful world of duality, we can't avoid being influenced & impacted by the knowledge of both good & evil.
While I definitely also have major concerns about large, showy deliverance ministries, I also can't help but wonder & even doubt that those advising against 'deliverance ministries' in general, have contended with extremely painful/limiting & persistent circumstances or experiences not sorted out by other means, either secular (e.g. psychological & medical help) or 'ordinary' Christian practices (e.g. repentance, Bible study, prayer & obedience). The 'out there' intensity of massive healing gatherings at mega churches (e.g. Benny Hinn; Kenneth Copeland & Joel Osteen) demonstrate how greedy, power-hungry so called Christian leaders, take advantage of people who are desperate for health & freedom. We must understand that while it's true that Christians are FREE IN SPIRIT with eternal life in Christ ("...sealed with the Holy Spirit...) we are not yet fully free in body & soul. The Holy Spirit indwelling, works His way into all our dark parts (those damaged by evil & sin) to heal & resurrect us whole, amen!
I want to add a contrasting point to what I've said above that I haven't heard from those advising against deliverance ministries: the value of the concept of deliverance. It can be very empowering for people who are ill, injured, disabled or struggling with addiction, to have an external force to fight against to help them overcome their situation rather than let whatever hardship they are going through, kill them. To frame cancer as ‘an attack of the devil’ can help people rally & fight for their life instead of easily becoming too passive to survive in the face of extremely challenging symptoms & medications that makes them feel even worse.
These well-known deliverance leaders I've mentioned above are simply 'moving peoples' energy'. By that, I mean they are re-arranging a person's broken pieces, which looks fancy & dramatic. It's possible that a few people get lasting healing from the belief that it will help but what about those who pay large sums of money to bring their dying child but get nothing in return?
Backing up a bit, on the other hand, a constant, long term battle against ‘the enemy’ can can be exhausting & demoralizing. How does one reconcile dying in peace if they succumb to being 'defeated by the devil' as Beni Johnson died of cancer last year, for example? Furthermore, we are taught by Jesus to: “…love your enemies…” (Matthew 5:44). Yet it is true that Amos said: “Hate evil & love good…” (5:15). I conclude like Paul (Philippians 4:8) that we must look for, submit to, find, create & focus on God & all that is good, especially in our most challenging situations & by doing this, we resist (squash/minimize the effects of) evil (James 4:7).
The evil one, also called ‘the thief’ (John 10:10) & ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44) is not omnipresent (as God is) but he doesn’t have to be to do his work of stealing, killing & destroying. He doesn’t have to possess or even ‘infest’ people to oppress & destroy them. He works by stealing the TRUTH & convincing people of that which brings suffering & quickens death. Using physiological & psychological (somatic) means, he creates "strongholds" which confirm peoples’ worst nightmares. He uses common human experiences of accidents/injuries, illness, bullying/abuse, poverty, isolation, physical & emotional pain (e.g. fear, shame, guilt, loneliness, frustration, & anger) to get us to destroy ourselves by believing lies such as the following (these 'thoughts' come from somatic imprints):
1. This illness will continue because it’s impossible to completely stop sinning (& be untouchable by the wicked one).
Biblical Truth that opposes this lie:
And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (John 9:2-3)
2. I’ll never be ‘good enough’ to be well or well enough to do enough good.
Biblical truth that combats this lie:
Thankfully God has given us clear instructions on how to 'overcome ourselves' by inviting Him in rather than by trying to be 'good enough'. The sense of not being good enough runs deep, probably into our DNA, causing all kinds of problems such as working to exhaustion, addiction & other forms of idolatry.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Eph. 2:8)
Now may the God of peace ... equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 20-21)
3. Life isn’t worth living with such ongoing pain. I'm useless much of the time yet taking up God's valuable resources.
Biblical Truth against this lie:
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:18
The evil one ‘reminds’ those like me who’ve been sick for a long time that we're 'good for nothing wastes of space' --more lies! Over the course of life, through our experiences, evil & sin plant ‘seeds of lies’ within our bodies & psyches & then can pretty much leave us to it except for checking in from time to time to make sure we stay on their 'program'. Unintentionally, we unfortunately often make some lies come 'true' to some degree.
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (Matthew 13:25)
These lies can fester & infect us, especially when we’re caught up in difficult circumstances. And, if we don’t have enough TRUTH already planted, rooted & well established within good soil, these ‘seeds of lies’ grow into massive, invasive weeds (e.g. parts of our personality & more difficult life circumstances such as poverty & addiction), that choke out truth, take over & eventually can take us down & out of life. The ultimate goal of satan's lies is our total destruction.
We should aim to hear & know God's Biblical word of TRUTH at least one hundred fold more often as a positive 'counterweight' to the lies of the wicked one. To live from a place of: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” we must not let our experiences dominate or dictate reality or tell us what is true. Instead, we must renew our mind by letting the TRUTH of scripture inform our experience. For instance, these two Bible verses surely tell us we can & ought to "move mountains" from getting in our way of living a gloriously Godly life.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 1-:23-24)
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it (the demon) out?” And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20)
Many of satan's ‘seeds of lies’ get planted early in life & most of the time seem harmless or dormant while our lives are going well. They germinate & grow quickly when things don’t go as we hope & especially if we become disabled by pain & other symptoms. Regardless of whether these lies are inactive or wreaking havoc, whenever we get ourselves into harmonious union with God, we are blessed to be having a 'Garden of Eden' moment. As soon as we listen to the temptations (e.g. lies, 'God-doubts') of the evil one & choose to eat whichever 'forbidden fruit' he's selling us, we (once again) fall from the place of deep presence with the Lord. Fortunately, we do not fall out of God's hands or out of His mercy & grace! For we know the TRUTH:
...that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
And we hold fast to:
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)
Over & over through out scripture, God teaches us, especially in times of troubles, to listen for His instruction & obey as an act of faith. This likely means we must first clear away distractions & let God write our to-do list. Jesus offered up a small amount of food & praised God for multiplying it to feed thousands (in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Lord, I lift up the food You graciously provide to me. I praise Your blessing of it satisfies all who are hungry, thank You our Great Giving Father!
How did the woman who had bled for twelve years, suffering under the care of many doctors (& spending all she had), how did she come to know: 'If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." (Mark 5:28)? According to Jewish Law, anything or anyone she touched became unclean, but because Jesus came to fulfill the law, he cleansed her. Jesus gave her the instruction she needed to heal. He knew she would touch Him before it happened.
After Peter ASKED Him to, Jesus told Peter to "Come" walk on the stormy sea to Him (Matthew 14:25-33). Obviously, it was not that walking was difficult for Peter. The tricky part was believing he could walk on a non-solid substance in the midst of a storm! This story tells me that when the Lord says "Come" I might be called to do an something I already know how to do within a context that seems impossible. This type of act of faith, I have been practicing when my energy is extremely low or scattered or when a feeling of overwhelm tries to take over. Rather than elaborate plans, God knows these acts of faith often need to be very simple, such as raising my arms up & reciting a health confession: "This is my comfort in my affliction, that Thy word has revived me" (Psalm 119:50).
When Jesus healed people, He often gave them a simple instruction:
"Bring the boy here to me." (Matthew 17:17)
When praying for healing, I encourage myself & those I am praying for to listen for an instruction from the Lord. It may be a very simply action (yet still often requires great faith, like "walking on water"). The receiving of an instruction is not about testing the Lord or "testing out" His healing. By listening, we are practicing & honing our ability to hear God! & act-ivating our faith, healing & discipleship, amen!
This seven minute animation (Retelling the Good Story) is where I got the two art images above. This video is a beautiful artistic version of two Gospel stories told from a First Nations cultural perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)
Our soul is the place deep within that unites our psyche & spirit with our body. The healing of the soul from sin is the innermost, profound (even pervasive) type of healing we can go through, somewhat like the process of physical birth.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7
The degree to which sin has invaded one's self, soul healing salvation is self-destructive & as such, makes personal the crucifixion & resurrection of Jesus Christ:
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
Many don't understand the need for soul healing and confuse it for other needs. The realization of the need for salvation is not something one person rightly can push upon another. The desire for a free soul: eternal life (knowing God as Jesus Christ), comes from within, hearing His knocking & calling us home.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)
Purification of the soul is on continuous offer from God Almighty to everyone alive, as the gift of grace through Jesus Christ. Accepting God's gift of redemption means entering into covenant relationship with God & surrendering to His Word & to His Ways:
"...whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
As the Light of the Lord (Holy Spirit) goes to work within an individual's spirit when their soul is saved, full healing of body & mind is activated & nothing can stop it (not even physical death). Even that which seems like an obstacle (e.g. illness) becomes part of one's healing journey. God has a plan & always makes His Ways straight, uplifting us from darkness.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
I remember laughing out loud, likely through tears, when I read this Bible passage above. Wait a minute, I thought ... Your yoke is easy & Your burden is light? Come now, really ... why then is it so painful?
While salvation happens the instant we first believe, its effects have our whole lives & beyond (eternity) to penetrate & permeate throughout our being. That God has us for such a long while (forever!) is a very good thing because we humans are very dense & so it can take Light a long time & some pretty intense pain to make its healing ways through us. The Holy Spirit clears us out; all that is not of God must go so He can fill us entirely. Iniquities, infirmities & afflictions - be gone, in Jesus name.
Throughout Jesus' ministry He demonstrated much compassion towards those oppressed by illness; healing all who came to him, even those with little faith! The testimonies of physical healing did such a great work of spreading the "Good News" of Jesus like an underground fire erupting in places & never going out. Jesus healed the sick when He was God-made-flesh on earth & He continues healing people to the present day; we know this because it is written:
“I the LORD do not change. (Malachi 3:6)
Just as salvation can be a sensitive topic in the secular world so to is the topic of physical healing, or "Faith Healing", even among Christians. Why is it that some people heal quickly while other faithful folk remain sick for years, despite much prayer?
It is so important that we be wise to etiquette around the topic of faith healing so as to not create more disappointment (where there is already much suffering) and push people away from ourselves and from God. I know firsthand how devastating it can be to be prayed over so many times & not feel any better physically, it's heartbreaking! I understand more now & there is much faith, joy (& even delight) in the renewing of my mind & softening of my heart, that I want to pass along. So now, here are some of the rules I pledge to live by regarding this topic:
1. Educate others about faith healing and let the understanding & the desire for it come from them (from God within them). When they are ready, they will come to it!
2. Do not assume everyone with a disability/illness wants/requires physical healing. Often people know subconsciously when it is their time to pass on or to remain in the condition they are in. In addition, many people with disabilities do not want to be fixed or cured. Never judge anyone who has "not yet healed" (e.g. as having too little faith etc.). The matter is between that person & God (& me or you, if they allow it).
3. All healing is from God; He made us healing "bio-machines". When praying for healing, rather than use the phrase:
"If it be your will..." (If you are not sure that it is God's will to heal you will you possibly go against God's Will by asking the doctor to figure out what is going wrong, taking medication or getting surgery?);
PRAY (something like): "Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer & healing me, in Jesus name, Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." AMEN!
4. One of the biggest lessons to understanding faith healing comes from this verse (& there are others like it):
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)
This is where people with chronic illness need Noah's ark & mustard seed moving mountains & the thief on the cross next to Jesus saying "Remember me...", type of faith. Once we've asked for health, we must believe it is so despite possible lingering symptoms. For this is what faith is, believing that which we do not have empirical evidence for. Believing what is not, into reality--not on the basis of new age sayings and positive psychology but on the authority of God & His promises throughout scripture.
This is a huge revelation in that, rather than getting disappointed after prayer & continued symptoms, we can instead take action to cultivate more faith, such as, by making confession: "Jesus is the Lord of my life. Sickness & disease have no power over me." (Charles Capps). Each confession is like lifting weights; it's going to take many repetitions to become stronger & see our "faith muscles" increase. Similarly, it may take many repetitions to see health replace symptoms after years of the brain subconsciously "rehearsing" certain sensations over & over.
Furthermore, there are reasons other than what I've mentioned so far (e.g. timing, faith) as to why one's physical healing may be delayed. I have more to share and will do so in another blog, another time. Thank you for reading & happy healing, amen!
I'm so pleased to write that a keto diet has greatly reduced my debilitating symptoms. I have better mental & physical energy & less muscle pain (especially first two weeks of the diet). I pray I can keep it up and that this info helps others who are struggling with ME/CFS. Please God, help scientists figure out who with ME/CFS can benefit & why it is effective. Cheers to ketones (not carbs) for energy!
My aunt got me onto monitoring my blood glucose levels over a month ago. While I couldn't see that I am in immediate danger of diabetes (yet), my blood sugar levels were quite unstable & spiked uncomfortably high after eating. Someday I will try using an interstitial fluid continuous glucose monitor to get an more data on this. Based on how my body reacts to carbs (not well!) it it pretty clear that my glucose metabolism isn't working properly. I think it is quite likely that my cells have some resistance to insulin. Thank you Lord Jesus for guiding me to improved health, in your precious name, amen.
Other translations of Ecclesiastes 1:2
*Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher. Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. (KJV & ASV)
*"Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher, "completely meaningless!" (NLT)
*Hevel, havalim, saith Kohelet, hevel havalim; all is hevel. (OJB)
*"It is of no use," says the Preacher. "It is of no use! All is for nothing." (NLV)
*"Futility of futilities," says the Preacher, futility of futilities! All is futility (NASB)
*"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher. "Vanity of vanities! All (that is done without God's guidance) is vanity (futile, meaningless--a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind)." (AMP)
Similar to being mesmerized by a campfire, I love watching steam rise & swirl from a hot beverage. The random fluidity of vapor can be simultaneously mysterious, calmly frantic & delicately serene. A beautiful dance of nature--unrepeating, fleeting & wonderfully artistic. When I read the different translations of Ecclesiastes 1:2, I think of these enjoyable encounters I've had with "hevel" (steam). In saying "All is vanity" the Teacher/Preacher, at least in part, is describing the not so uncommon feeling of being 'stuck in a hamster wheel' ... but there is a bit more to it than that.
The Amplified Bible translation (AMP), with its explanation in brackets, makes sense of this verse in light of the whole twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes. The Preacher says "And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor ... and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun." (2:10-11) It makes sense to listen to this wisdom learned because even after literally having everything one's heart could possibly desire and more, the Preacher proclaims the pointlessness of all of it "under the sun" but what about "in the Son" (as in, in God's way): "For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?" (2:25)
A common question, is the Preacher depressed or just pessimistic? He shares that even wisdom is futile, "...in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain." (1:18) It is God's help through grief & pain that brings the Preacher the Truth of God. Although this does not relieve his own suffering, the Truth continues to come through, from him, to help others, as God allows. Seeing 'the glass as half empty OR half full' is not nearly as important as honoring the One who provides the glass & drinking the living water within it that eternally quenches our thirst.
So first and foremost, meaning & enjoyment (yes, it's fun!) come through a Godly life: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil." (12:13-14)
"A generation goes and a generation comes ..." (1:4); the fleeting nature of life, like steam, reminds us to put our faith not in people or things but in the Lord, for "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" (KJV) & "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing" (NIV). We are to want, not what we want, but what God wants. When we take this Godly perspective, we live in appreciation of all the beautiful things God provides, such as enjoying the breeze (rather than chasing the wind, lol) & we ask Lord, "Please remove or fulfill my unmet needs & desires in ways that are glorifying to You, amen!" This is not repression, rather it frees & makes us lighter.
I pray God that we do not get caught up in self importance & the pursuit of happiness. I pray for all who are ensnared in the traps of this world; the never ending striving for success on our own terms. Help us put You first & not just give you the time we have leftover after everything else gets done or to turn to You only when we're in dire straits. The Preacher cautions us to: "Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed;" (12:6) Just as a ship needs an anchor onboard before leaving the dock, we are to know & honor "God, the Eternal" before befalling into the pit of despair and before crawling desperately dehydrated upon a well to find only a shattered pitcher there. For a moment of separation from God is (like) an eternity in hell that only ONE lived through & triumphs over. Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God Almighty, In Jesus name, amen!
Job is an especially rich book of the Bible for me. Reading it got me back into daily Bible devotion in 2020 when I was going through a period of depression in addition to ongoing ME/CFS since 2007. Much of what Job says is dramatic, understandably so, considering the intensity & unrelenting nature of his tormenting condition of festering boils from head to toe. I can relate to much of his lament, such as when he repeatedly asks God about why he is even alive, ("What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?" Job 3:23). Day after day of pain & illness to the point of being unable to function, eat and sleep would make anyone question their existence. This is precisely the point of the masterpiece of Job. The author intrigues readers to examine their lives & consider how or if God intervenes, what God allows or provides to us & why.
Job contains 40 chapters of deep rhetoric between Job, his friends & God speaking through a storm. Note, spoiler alert, I was at first a bit disappointed that the conclusion leaves us without a straight forward answer from God about the main dilemma -- "Why do many Godly people go through horrible things while (so it seems) many wicked people live in ease & luxury?" I've come to understand through discussion & multiple readings of God's response to Job's defense (here's one example of so many)...
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place; that it might take hold of the ends of the earth and the wicked be shaken out of it?" (Job 38:12-13)
...that we are not to know or overly concern ourselves with such matters only God contends with. We are to turn toward rather than away from God, especially in our anger & devastation, He can handle it. Crying out to, is trusting in God and so we pray without ceasing ("Teach me to see what I still don't see. Whatever evil I've done, I'll do it no more." Job 34:32) to deal with our situation to the best of our abilities.
On a personal note, I will share how helpful & healing it has been to have a friend, GJ, who also has ME/CFS. Unlike Job's friends to Job, GJ doesn't shake his finger at me! We are patient, empathetic & encouraging of each other in ways that are difficult to know how to be for those who have not experienced long term illness. We share the same faith & discuss all things Bible for fun ... yes, truly a joy. It was GJ that came up with the phrase "Job it out" which I take to mean: complain as you must for a time then look to God for strength & support ("I've talked too much, way too much, I am ready to shut up & listen." Job 40:5) and do not expect everything to make sense!
Modifying the old adage 'When life gives you lemons...' for those facing chronic illness, I try "gently squeezing" every drop of good (God) out of the 'lemons' I'm given ... & out of life in every situation possible. I certainly did so this past summer when I was able to go camping with GJ (who, by the way, I would not have met if it were not for having ME). Camping took much more planning & rest than previously when I was well but this time I got to go "slow" camping with my ME friend & we had a wonderful time. I'm praying for more adventures like that (minus both of us getting covid afterwards) & beyond. Amen!
Dear Lord, I pray for & hold up to you all who are going through hardship; people, land & animals in fires, floods, war, poverty & other oppressive situations. God, thank you for unburdening us especially in times of weakness & trouble by insisting that we submit to you our grievances & wrongdoings & change our ways to your way. May we seek your counsel in all things. Holy spirit, I ask that you be with each person working in law enforcement, government, the judicial & medical systems & cast away from them all evil influences.
Please God bless & protect our farmers dealing with exhaustion, extreme weather, insects & political upheaval. Please lead to salvation & heal those who are suffering with addiction, illness & injury. Lord, help us mend our relationships with each other & with the land you so graciously created & provide to us. Make us much better stewards of our beautiful earth home for many generations to come. I pray all these things in Jesus name, amen!
God offers everyone the ultimate free gift: eternal relationship with Christ! Why some people forever resist this supernatural love & protection is puzzling to me. Yet from my own experience, I see that acceptance of God's gift - belief in Jesus & faith in the Gospel, evolves. It seems that people go through a stage of fading belief & interest due to reasons that are probably similar to why some people never believe. For examples, life's atrocities & challenges ("How could a loving God..."); unanswered prayers & questions; other things & relationships (idols) made priority; adoption of the mainstream-reductionist, analytical worldview.
People in disbelief or the 'estranged' stage of faith are either unable to experience the real life magic of Christ or integrate these experiences with their reality and rather than facing the dissonance, they focus on other aspects of life.
All the while, God orchestrates that which has us turn towards Him & say "Yes please, thank you God." When we choose to be close enough to hear God, he uses what only he can see in peoples' hearts to guide us. God makes a way, but in this fallen (from God's grace) world, it's often not an easy or pain free way towards His goal of one heart & mind. For instance like when the Lord ensured that Saul & 3000 of Saul's soldiers who were hunting David stay soundly asleep while David showed up Saul!
Forevermore, I'll be relaxing & trusting God not only when life is "good" but especially through difficult times. I'm reading God's word, learning, listening, praying & enjoying God's gift of the living presence of Jesus that keeps on giving :) Amen!
"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God..." (Ruth 1:16)
As bleak as things were after the deaths of her father & brother in laws and of her own husband, why did Ruth insist on staying with Naomi? What made Ruth so sure that being with Naomi was the right thing for her to do? It seems that it would have been more reasonable for her stay in Moab, as her sister did, to find another husband.
As with much in the Bible, we can speculate and pray for understanding, but we can't know Ruth's thought process (without being able to ask her). Was Ruth's decision impulsive or well reasoned & planned or somewhere in between, guided by God? Ruth certainly didn't hem and haw over this major choice point in her life, which leaves me wondering, when a tough choice is easy to make, is it preordained? Ruth's strong commitment to her family by marriage led to an 'out of the ordinary' type of union between her and Boaz which eventually (31 generations later) led to the magnificent birth of Jesus. I know ... wow, right? AMEN!