“No, my daughters, my life is much too bitter for you to share, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me.” (Ruth 1:13b)
Naomi spoke these words to Ruth and Orpah on the road to Bethlehem from Moab as she was trying to get them to return to Moab. They had decided to go with her to Bethlehem. She persuaded Orpah to return to her father’s house, but Ruth could not be persuaded.
Years earlier, Elimelech, Naomi, and their two boys, Chilion and Mahlon, went to Moab because of a famine in Israel. Elimelech died there. The boys both married, and then they died in Moab as well. From Naomi’s view, God’s had had turned against her. Later, when the town of Bethlehem greeted her at her arrival, she told them not to call her “Naomi” anymore, but to call her “Mara.” “Naomi” means “pleasant.” “Mara” means “bitter.”
The only reality Naomi could see was stark: almost everything of importance to her was gone. The loves of her life were no more. All she knew at that time was pain, sorrow, and suffering, and she attributed it all to the hand of God against her. What she was unable to see then was the grace of God in allowing these things to occur as they did.
We, however, do see the grace of God in this, because the events that occurred brought Naomi and Ruth back to Bethlehem, where Ruth later married Boaz. They had a son named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David.
There are times when we may be incapable of seeing God’s grace in our pain and sorrow, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Maybe we just don’t see it yet. God eventually always brings His plans and purposes to fruition. Thus, whatever circumstances we may encounter, let’s trust that God’s grace is still at work.
Lord, We confess that we do not always see Your grace in some of the circumstances we face, but we believe that You are still very much at work achieving Your purposes. Thus we walk with You in trust, in faith. Amen.