Jill Eileen Smith’s new release, Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story, is amazing. I loved every part of it. As I read, Ruth came alive. Naomi became a real woman. Boaz became even more of a hero. And the love of God became more merciful, more true, more present.
Ruth is one of my favorite people in the Bible. Maybe cuz my middle name is Ruth and it makes me feel special. And I’ve read her story since I was young and felt connected to her journey. But more because she was drawn out of a pagan culture into the holiness of life with God.
Ancient stories frame our modern lives, our mindsets, our faith, if we allow them to soak deep into the fibers of our souls. The Lord showed Himself faithful to Naomi and Ruth, to Israel, to each of us, when He opened His Kingdom to Ruth the Moabite. As I read about the Jewish people and their struggle to remain faithful to the laws of God, and the redemption plan God gave them when they failed … about the transformation of Ruth from a lost woman questioning her false gods to a strong, committed woman who trusted in the One true God … it encouraged me, really, to know that God’s people have always been imperfect. There is no hope without His plan because we’re incapable of not sinning. And there’s no shame in that – only hope and joy because God covered us, even in the days of Ruth, and we’re all incredibly blessed because of Him.
Even a fictional retelling of a true historical account can open our minds to truth. I’m so thankful for authors like Jill Eileen Smith who see in between the words of the Biblical text. Who think deeply about how it all went down, how people interacted and how culture informed faith.
It’s absolutely refreshing to read a compelling, vivid, well-told account of a courageous, faithful woman in the lineage of Christ. Get it and read it because it will bless you. For sure.