Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Perspective on Life

The small book of Ruth is a great little book in the Bible. When I read it today I found myself drawn to how Naomi looks at life. Her husband and two sons die. One daughter-in-law leaves and the other, Ruth, commits to stay with her. Even as she tries to convince her daughters to leave, she blames God saying, "It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me." (1:13)

A little later, she doesn't even want to be called Naomi (which means 'pleasant'), but Mara (which means 'bitter') "because the Almighty has made my life very bitter." Again she places God at the center of blame. And she doesn't stop there. She continues:

"I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."

Who can blame her, right? Her world, her identity, her well-being is threatened without the men in her life.

But that is when God uses the most unlikely person, Ruth, to bring his blessing upon Naomi. By the end of the book we see Naomi as the one who all the other women talk about. They are the ones who see God working. God is still alive. He has not abandoned her. "The woman said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer..." (4:14)

Sometimes our circumstances force us to blame God. "How can God...?" "God is against me..." "God has abandoned me..." While this is okay for a season, God continues to work. It is good to read Naomi's story. It is good to know that friends are there to point you back to the Lord. He will hear your cry. He has not left you without. Take courage...God is faithful.

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