Has your life ever taken an unexpected twist? Have you ever felt like a stranger?
In this weeks story from The Bible we find a woman named Naomi, whose name means “beautiful and sweet” who has found love with a man named Elimelek. They have two sons and all is well except then a famine comes upon the land and they decide to travel to the land of Moab in hopes of finding food and the means to survive. They not only do but her sons find for themselves wives. For Naomi life is surely “sweet” and she is probably dreaming of grandchildren. When life takes and unexpected twist she loses her husband and her two sons. Now Naomi is in a very dangerous situation and one of her daughter-in-laws Ruth decides to stay with Naomi instead of going back to her people. Instead they travel back to Naomi’s people in Bethlehem.
Upon her return Naomi tells her family to call her by the name Mara, which means bitter. Having lost her husband and her two sons and thus all means to support herself it is no wonder Naomi is bitter. Plus she has left whatever home she would have made not once but twice. She is simply mad at God, angry at the world, bitter. Life has changed and not in the fashion that she had imaged it would or should change. Bitterness has consumed her and so she says call me Mara.
This is the Lower Story in todays chapter in the book of Ruth, a story of loss and bitterness. Perhaps this is or has been your story as well. Upper Story – GOD’s story in the midst of this story is that God is always seeking to redeem his people even when they turn from Him. Laura Story writes in her song “Blessings” these words:
……….what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
She is writing of a difficult truth that GOD can and does use what is bitter in this world for His good. Here is as they say “the rest of the story” of Naomi and Ruth, they meet a relative named Boaz and he marries Ruth redeeming the family when they have a son named Obed. And it turns out redeeming all of us for Obed is the grandfather of a boy named David, king David and this story should now sound pretty familiar and pretty sweet for from the line of David comes a baby named Jesus Christ.
How has your perspective on difficult life experiences changed through your experiences or through reading the story of Ruth?
How has God used difficult life experiences, or the bitterness in your life to draw you closer to him?