One thing about the Bible, it is real. Things aren’t sugar-coated. Even those God used mightily are shown to have flaws. They aren’t always strong, joyful, or without sin. (see David in the Psalms, Jeremiah in Lamentations, Peter in the Gospels).
And the book of Ruth, isn’t all sunshine and love story either.
When Naomi, along with her daughter-in-law Ruth, arrive back to the Promised Land, and are surrounded by Naomi’s friends and family, who were excited to see her, Naomi tells them not to call her Naomi, which means “pleasant”, but to call her “Mara” which means bitter.
This would have likely squelched the happy atmosphere and sucked the air out of the room.
Naomi says, call me Mara, “for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21)
How hard coming home without her husband and sons must have been. How evident their absence must have been in that moment. Did seeing friends who had rejoiced with her on her wedding day, and held her sons as babies, flood her with emotions?
Naomi was a real person and God allows us to see her heartache and her struggle.
But in all that had happened, even knowing God’s sovereign Hand could have prevented it, Naomi chose to come home after those long years in the wilderness, “Naomi returned” (Ruth 1:22)
She literally and figuratively walked back toward God.
And don’t miss this, she walked back even though she didn’t have all the answers for why things had turned out so bad; and she didn’t know how God would come through for her.
Naomi acknowledged her pain, and even recognized God’s Hand in allowing it. Still, she chose to seek Him.
And that’s a lesson for us all. Every day, we are either walking toward God or away from Him.
And if we only choose to keep walking towards Him when we like our circumstances, and agree with what He is allowing in our lives, we are simply not very strong in our faith.
I heard a pastor once say, the real test of your commitment is, what would it take to make you quit? If Jesus is your Lord, if you are a follower of Christ, don’t quit, keep following!
Yes, you may walk some rough roads. Some paths will be rocky, and there are times all will seem dark, but hold on friend. Hold on.
This often rocky, hard road through this temporary life will soon come to a land with no more tears, no more trouble, and where all things will be made new.
I need to remember this myself today. How about you?
God is Who He says He is! He will do as He promises! His Word is real. It isn’t sugar-coated. It’s the true story of real people who encounter the real, One True God.
You will see yourself in the pages of Scripture. Sometimes, that’s a hard mirror to hold to our faces; but we must remember, anytime God shows us our sin, it is for our good. It’s because He has better for us! His kindness, leads us to repentance. (Rom 2:4)
And as we read the Bible, we get to better know the God we are trusting for eternity so we can follow Him for our good and His glory!
May our hearts be encouraged to know the same God who drew Naomi back home from the land of her heartache is also drawing those who call Him Lord, closer to Himself in this life and to our better, eternal home with Him in the next!
Let’s keep our eyes on Him. Lets keep walking toward Him. As we do, let’s seek to do what is right in His eyes and not our own. Because we can trust Him more than we trust us! And that’s where the blessing is!