As most know the story in the book of Ruth about Naomi, the woman who had lost her husband and both her sons in the country of Moab and was left alone with her 2 daughter in-laws, Orpah and Ruth. Well after the death of her husband and 2 sons Naomi decided that she was going to return back home to Bethlehem. She said that she “had nothing else” and urged her 2 daughter-in-laws to “go back to your mother’s homes, I have nothing for you”. Well after a bit of urging, Orpah, who would be “me” at the beginning of this story, lovingly kissed the cheek of her mother-in-law and left. But however Ruth stayed and she vowed, “as the lord liveth I shall not leave thee”.
Now, my story. I have to admit, if I could relate to any one of these 3 women in this story, it would be Orpah, initially that is. Now I know, most of us, when we hear the story of Ruth, do everything in our power to make some type of correlation or connection with who we are in our current situation to that of the likeness of Ruth. And let’s be clear, we can all understand why. Ruth is herold as “THE” woman in this book! She’s beautiful, faithful, loyal, strong and in the end, she gets the prize, Boaz! As well as a life filled with prominence and stability. Who wouldn’t want to be a “Ruth”? But if we’re really honest with ourselves most of us, especially in this day and age, are probably more like Orpah. Okay, I won’t put labels on anyone. I’ll just say, during my divorce, “I” was Orpah in every sense of the word.
Be clear, I had no ill will or vengeful intent towards anyone, of which I don’t think Orpah did either. However, she just didn’t see a future tagging along with her dead husband’s mother. Orpah’s husband had died, so she LEFT. In my case, my marriage had ended, so I LEFT. Once Orpah had received word that her husband had died, or in my case, the divorce papers were signed, there was no need, at least this was my thinking at the time, to continue on in a situation where the other person (spouse) was no longer there. Makes sense, right? so I, like Orpah, lovingly and graciously LEFT.
Now fast forward. In learning a great deal more about my own marriage (as it was restored) and Ruth’s story, I realized that yes, I was most definitely an Orpah, seeing no future in a dead thing. However, in looking back, there was a transformation taking place that I wasn’t even aware of. I learned that walking away (as Orpah had done to Naomi) was probably the easiest thing to do. However staying and deciding that I will stay committed to that which God had called me to was more than likely the hardest thing to do, especially when you’re already divorced. What are you staying for Peaches? Why?
As I learned more about the story of Ruth, I learned that Ruth was going to be a foreigner in Bethlehem (Naomi’s homeland). She didn’t know anybody (other than her mother-in-law), she didn’t speak the language, it was a different religion than what she had known, she was widowed, poor, tired and hungry but she was willing to stay and endure all of those hardships because she was committed to not only Naomi but to her late husband’s legacy. Ruth realized that the person with whom she was once loyal to and loved and honored and cherished (her husband), she was still “spiritually” tied to, even in death. However in my situation, there was no physical death which meant I was, even more so than Ruth in my opinion, still tied spiritually to my husband. And my destiny, as Ruth’s was, was tied to that which God had ordained and called to be, my marriage.
Now in realizing that my fate and destiny as well as the life that God had called me to was tied to that of my husband and the covenant of our marriage, leaving this covenant (as Orpah had done) would have cut me off from the destiny that God had already predestined for me. Meaning that, the divorce and the restoration of the our marriage was something “I” had to go through in order for my purpose and/or destiny to be realized. Ruth was not going to meet Boaz while her husband (Naomi’s son) was still living and they were still in Moab. There had to be a death and then a commitment of loyalty to stay and “go with” in order for Ruth’s destiny to be revealed. She had to go to Bethlehem which meant staying committed to the covenant of her marriage (hanging in there with her mother-in law) even though her husband had died. In my case, staying committed to the marriage/the covenant even though, in my eyes, the marriage had died.
Just like Ruth, there would be no Boaz and no story of restoration and of great lineage to tell, had she left. For me, I would not be sitting here telling the world how God saved my marriage and my family through, and as crazy as it may sound, the death of my marriage…divorce. Yes, I was an “Orpah”! Honey I was “Gone”:)! But in time God showed me that I possessed all the characteristics of a “Ruth” by later deciding to stay (and fight for the marriage). God humbled me and I got back in line with my destiny. I would have never walked in the fullness of what God had predestined for me until I had stood and “stayed” loyal to that which he had joined me to.
Bishop T.D. Jakes put it this way, “Nothing Just Happens”. There was a bigger plan in play, for Ruth and for myself and had I just walked away (as Orpah did) the plan, the ministry, the book, the fact that I’m speaking to you now from a place of healing would have never happened because “Nothing Just Happens”! Therefore, my marriage, subsequent divorce, walking away only to realize that my loyalty and commitment to my husband was tied to my destiny, none of that just happened. God allowed all of that so that I could be able to tell all of this and how, “My Divorce Saved My Marriage”.