12/11/2018
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Charlotte Smith

By Charlotte Smith

Charlotte SmithFamilies are homeless, some business owners have been forced to close their doors but, hope still seeps through in Bladen County, North Carolina. While the government means well with their Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) outreach, it is really ordinary citizens making an impact during disaster and tragedy.

In the past few weeks we have seen countless churches, civic organizations, fire and rescue members, law enforcement organizations, political officials and many others assisting our county. The groups helping Bladen County and North Carolina are not just local people, but people from all across our nation.

Watching the outpouring of support reminds me of a heartbreaking situation which turned into a beautiful testimony. Embedded in the recorded tragedy there is a message of encouragement.

In the book of Ruth, there is a widow named Naomi. Naomi was not only a widow, but a mother who lost both her sons. The sons had married before they passed away leaving two more widows, Orpah and Ruth. The three women were searching for what to do after the men in their lives had died.

Naomi being the matriarch of the family decided to leave the country she was in and go back to her home town of Bethlehem. Now, as you can imagine, Naomi was devastated, bitter and afflicted. She told Orpah and Ruth to go back to their own people.

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law farewell and returned to her people.

However, when Naomi felt as if she had nothing left, Ruth was there to remind Naomi there was still love, hope and charity.  Ruth clave to her mother-in-love and said, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.”

The two ladies arrived in the town of Bethlehem just as barley harvest was beginning. Ruth and Naomi’s hope was that someone would show Ruth favor and allow her to gather from the sheaves behind the harvesters.

Ruth took action, found a field and gleaned behind the harvesters. 

Later in the story we see where love and hope were shown, charity was provided. Boaz, a kinsman of the family saw Ruth working hard. He allowed her to reap extra crops from his field. Eventually, Boaz took Ruth as his wife. Boaz supplied both Ruth and Naomi with the support they needed to survive.

The encouraging book reminded me of the love, hope and charity I have witnessed lately in the mother county. Some citizens in our communities are suffering and are in despair, but like Naomi, they are not giving up.

Others are like Ruth, who have suffered, but are showing love and hope by offering support to others the best way they know how.

Last but not least, some people are like the noble Boaz acting with compassion and charity by meeting needs. Dedication to each other at times seems to be rare, but recently the overwhelming love, hope and charity demonstrated to others is to be marveled over.

Since September when Hurricane Florence hit NC with damaging winds and rain many have been reminded, “For when I am weak, then I am strong,” from a verse in 2 Corinthians 12:10 and John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Today, we are facing another storm, but we are not afraid because we know there is Love, Hope and Charity.

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