In the Bible there is a story of a woman by the name of Naomi who is very bitter towards God. Early on in her marriage she and her husband and her two sons were forced to leave her homeland, the Land of Israel, and to go to a foreign country because of a great famine.
While they were there her husband died. Yet she still perhaps found a little bit of joy and hope in her two sons that they would grow up would get married and have children, but soon even those two sons died. Naomi, at that point realizing that she had nothing left to really stay for, decided to head back to her homeland. Her sons had married and their widows came to Naomi saying that they would go with her, but Naomi said no go back to your homes, go back to your families, you still have the potential for joy and hope. You’re young enough to remarry and have kids, but not me.
One of those daughter-in-laws, Ruth, though clung to her and refused to leave. She said she would go with her, she would even die with her. When Naomi arrived back in her hometown of Bethlehem, many of the people there were surprised to see her and said “Naomi she’s returned!” But Naomi quickly said to them, “don’t call me Naomi, but call me Mara for the Lord has made my life bitter.”
Have you ever been there? Feeling bitterness towards the Lord because you feel that you have been wronged by him, that perhaps God has taken your loved one too soon? Maybe that God is afflicting you with some sort of disease for no reason? God has embittered your life. It’s good at such times to remember the Word of God in Job chapter 1 verse 21 that says:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” – Job 1:21
God reminds us in his word that we brought nothing into this world and we shall take nothing out of it. Every blessing we have whether our health, whether our family, whatever it is comes from the Lord. During times of trial he especially us to place our trust in him.
To know that the same God who cared for us enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay for our sins certainly cares for us through the difficult times. Through the loss of loved ones, through extended illness, even death.
As for Naomi, God provided for her tremendously through her daughter-in-law Ruth who soon married and even had a child. God yet provided a grandchild and not just any grandchild, but an ancestor of the Messiah, the Savior Jesus Christ. We see God’s plan for Naomi even in the midst of struggle and difficulty in her life.
May God help us to trust him and trust his plan for our lives even during such times. Amen.