Louis XIII founded the Musketeers in 1622, men who formed the royal guard to protect the French king. Made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ novel of 1844, the Three Musketeers were brave, loyal, and committed to one another and their king. The story of D’Artagnan and his three courageous friends is based on real people, all of whom were as awe-inspiring as their characters.
The term “musketeers” connotes deep friendships and a commitment to working together. Close associates who can count on each other whatever the situation.
Just like three remarkable young men who are brothers, competitors, devoted to one another, and ready to fight each other when tempers flare. They love each other and can play together with great abandon. And nobody can upset them as quickly or efficiently as one another.
I have two sisters, and you’d be hard pressed to find three more different people. As children, we got along for two reasons: the first because it was the expected behavior our parents chose, and second, because we could play well and fight well together.
Relationships are always a challenge. Just because people are related isn’t an automatic fast-track to getting along. Circumstances get in the way, and relationships can be uncomfortable. Those we love can get under our skin because they know what undoes us.
They also know how to love us well.
In the Biblical book of Ruth, a famine overwhelmed Israel, so a man from Bethlehem went to live in the country of Moab with his wife and two sons. A necessary move but an uncomfortable one because the Moabites didn’t believe in the God of Israel. The man died while in Moab, and both sons married Moabite women. Within ten years, both sons also died.
God had blessed Israel with crops, so Naomi determined to move back, but she told her two daughters-in-law to go back to live among their people, to begin their lives anew. One did as she asked; Ruth, the other, decided she’d stay with her mother-in-law, even though it meant living in a foreign land.,
They got back in time for barley harvest. As a widow, Ruth was allowed to follow those who picked the grain and gather what was left behind–gleaning, A law was enacted to allow for the poor to gather that which wasn’t harvested.
Naomi had become bitter. She was a widow who’d lost both of her sons, and the one who was closest to her was a daughter-in-law who was culturally very different from her. Ruth chose to support her mother-in-law, to stay committed to Naomi even though it was culturally and personally difficult.
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Ruth 1:16
Ruth and Naomi were like the Musketeers. The relationship was supportive, but it was also tough. Different cultures, and different religions. God drew Ruth to Naomi, to be able to support her in her loneliness and be the family she needed.
God alone can connect hearts, overcome differences, and provide love when it’s not easy to give.
God provides the courage for us to be His musketeers.