Ruth 1:19-20, Romans 8:28, 1 Timothy 2:3-4
What sort of things would you describe as bitter? Maybe coffee or beer. Certain vegetables or cheeses. Usually we describe foods that have a sharp, pungent, or even foul taste as bitter.
Would you ever describe a person as bitter though? Maybe yourself or someone you know? When we use that to describe people aren’t we often referring to someone who is angry or resentful because of something that has happened to them in the past? They aren’t so pleasant to be around, are they? Especially because they have this chip on their shoulder still.
There’s a woman in the Bible who even wants to be called Bitter. The irony is that her name, her God given name, means pleasant. That woman is Naomi. Do you remember the story of Naomi? Things go from bad to worse for her. She’s forced to leave her home country with her husband and two sons because of a famine. While they’re there her husband dies and then years later her two sons die. And so, she heads back home feeling like she is left with nothing.
This is what we hear in Ruth’s Chapter 1 verses 19 and 20.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” (Ruth 1:19-20)
She felt that God had embittered her life. She wasn’t happy. She didn’t feel pleasant in any way. Do you feel this way? You feel that God is maybe turned against you? Maybe because of a financial situation, because of medical concerns, because of a divorce or death. God is embittered your life. Well is it true? That God has turned against you?
Romans Chapter 8 verse 28. We hear these words.
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
We hear there that God uses everything in our life whether it might be trouble and hardship or maybe tremendous blessing. He uses it as all for his good purpose. And what is that? Scriptures also tell us that
God our Savior wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
God’s number one goal for you is that you make it to heaven. So, at times he maybe permits trouble and hardship to bring you closer to him to cause you to rely not on what you have but on him.
It’s kind of interesting when it comes to bitter things like certain types of green vegetables. What do parents do for their children? Quite often they force them to eat those bitter vegetables, and why? Because they know they’re for their own good. That it’s much better than giving the kids candy. It’s better for their health it’s better for their body to have those vegetables no matter how terrible the kids might think that they taste.
Also, it is true for troubles that God can permit in their own lives. Sometimes he allows it for our good. To bring us closer to him and to heaven. May we understand the way that God can use trouble and affliction for our good to bring us close to him and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.