What’s not to love about a pajama party?? Staying up with your best girl friends and talking about anything and everything. And this is how I became better acquainted with a prostitute and a foreigner.
The prostitute sat up on the bed and shared her story first. Obviously her family was not happy with her choice. But she had very few careers to choose from – none, really – and she needed to provide for her family. It was a job of necessity. She wasn’t proud of her lifestyle, but it put food on the table. She paused to play with the ends of her hair, it was apparent that she still regretted having to sell herself. She took a breath and continued with her story. One day, things changed. She stood outside her house, like every other day, waiting for the men with hungry eyes to start passing by. She called out to a few, hoping to make a deal, but they didn’t have the time or the money – it was a slow day. Then two strangers passed by. They intrigued her, there was something different about them. She invited them in and they obliged. They told her immediately that they were not interested in her “services,” but did need her help. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt like she could trust them and asked them to tell her their story.
She told me that she fixed a light meal while they began to tell her of their journey. How they had crossed through very difficult terrain and met with many hardships (and they definitely looked it). She had heard of these people. The citizens of her city had been talking about them, and the fear of this foreign nation was spreading.
After she finished feeding them, she knew she must hide these men for if they were found they would surely be killed. They were the first men in a long time that she had encountered that did not treat her like a prostitute – either with scorn and contempt, nor with loathing. She hid them on the roof of her house, and just in time, too. Moments later, the cops showed up at her house, demanding to know where the men were – someone had seen them enter her house. Quickly she fabricated a lie: they had left town by the southern road, but she did not see which way they went after that. The cops immediately took off in the direction. She went back to the roof, and told the men everything that had just happened. Then she begged them to spare the lives of her and her family when their nation came to attack the city. They agreed, and if her family was in her house at the time of the attack they would be spared. And they told her to hang a red rope out of her window as a sign to their nation.
Her eyes lit up as she continued her story. She told of the attack that happened just days later. But her family was in the house, and they were all spared because of her kindness to the two men. She told me how the God of that nation showed His mercy to her because of the mercy she showed to the men. And since then she and her family have lived happily amongst the other nation. She has found a job she loves and a husband who treats her kindly. Tears of joy streamed down her face as she finishes her story.
The foreigner sprawled out across the bed on her stomach and prepared to tell me her story. She was married young to a man who was an immigrant to her country. She loved her in-laws dearly; well… her mother-in-law could have a sharp tongue at times, she laughed in remembrance. Then her face grew troubled. The happiness in her life ended abruptly; first her beloved father-in-law died suddenly, and shortly after both her brother-in-law and her husband died in tragic accidents. She, her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law were left to try to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. All grief-stricken, they made the decision to go back with her mother-in-law to her home country – they wanted to stick together. But half-way there, her mother-in-law tried to convince them to go home to their families. Her sister-in-law did. She, however, wanted to go with her mother-in-law to take care of her and would not be dissuaded. She paused in her story to wipe away a tear.
Once they reached their destination, she said she immediately found a job with a farmer. It was back-breaking work, but she was able to take some food home to her mother-in-law each night. Then one day when she arrived home, she found her mother-in-law really excited. Apparently the man she was working for was somehow related to her deceased husband and her mother-in-law started playing match-maker. She did everything she was told, and went to visit him one night. It went so well that he soon proposed to her and they were married shortly after! Because of her mother-in-law, she had put her trust in God who picked up the pieces of her life and made her whole again.
As you may have guessed, these are the stories of Rahab and Ruth: two amazing and inspiring women of the Bible. They were women on the fringes of society and God redeemed them. Not only that, they play a major part of the lineage of David, and therefore Jesus himself! I find their stories so encouraging because it reminds me that while we may feel far from being redeemable in our eyes, when our circumstances feel hopeless, the God of mercy can still reach us and draw us to His love.
And I did have a pajama party of sorts with these ladies: a prostitute and a foreigner – I got to know them and their stories better as I read about them in bed… in my pajamas.