Naomi and her husband began like most couples. In love. Hopeful. But before long they were faced with a famine in the land. They bravely moved to a foreign land to provide for their family. Only to face more tragedy. Naomi lost her husband and then her two sons. This is a heartache no one should ever have to bare.
Dejected. Alone in a foreign land away from family and friends. Naomi returned home. When greeted by her friends and family, her heart is so heavy she replies, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara – bitter.”
Naomi’s grief led to bitterness. Hopelessness. She pushed away her daughters in law and resolved to live a life of desolation. Her bitterness became her identity.
Have you ever felt that level of grief? Have you ever been angry with God? You prayed and still they died. You loved but still you were rejected. You parented and still the child walked away. You wrote your best and still you were rejected. You gave your all and still you failed. Are there places in your heart where bitterness has begun to reign?
How does one overcome?
Honestly, it’s hard to be around people who are bitter. But even in Naomi’s bitterness, Ruth clung to her mother-in-law. Ruth represents the Holy Spirit. In your bitterness you may push everyone away but the Holy Spirit clings to you. He is there in your grief. He is there in your anger. You can’t push Him away. Know the Holy Spirit is clinging to you.
Naomi returned to Judah. Judah means praise. Saturate your ears, your spirit, your life with worship. Even if you can’t declare it, even if your heart can’t believe it, let worship wash over you. Fill your home, your car, your ears with worship,
In returning back to Judah, back to praise, Naomi finds hope. The bitterness subsides. She can see past the grief and into a future. She advises Ruth on how to get a man. Ruth was redeemed but so was Naomi. It was said, Ruth was better than seven sons.
You may think there is no hope. You may not be able to understand how God can turn your tragedy around. But He can if you don’t give up. You may have embraced bitterness as your identity but the Holy Spirit is clinging to you to give you a true identity. Return to praise. Return to God.
“Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Ruth 4:14-17 NKJV