“…for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.” (Ruth 1:13b)
It’s so easy in times of trial and grief to turn inward and become focused on the personal repercussions of what is happening to us. When we are sick, our own pain can make us unconscious of the inconvenience, sleeplessness, or weariness it those around us may be experiencing. When we are bereaved or besieged, our own tears may blind us to the broken hearts of those within our circle of family or friends. No doubt, our inclination to such self-centered thinking is one reason why the Bible writers warn us never to see ourselves as special, one-of-a-kind sufferers (1 Pet. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:13, etc.).
I thought of this as I was reading the little book of Ruth a few days ago. Those three words, “for your sakes,” told me that Naomi was very conscious that her grief was having a painful effect on her daughters-in-law, as well. In fact, it was such a part of them, they could not bear the thought of being separated from her…and her grief.
I highlighted those three words (“for your sakes) in my Bible and wrote in the margin, “In time of trial, who do I grieve for the most, myself or those around me that are affected by it?” Maybe you should ask yourself the same question.