Homecoming heartache - Hope 103.2

Homecoming heartache

By David ReayWednesday 10 Jul 2013LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Ruth 1:19-22

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem,the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked.

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead,call me Mara,for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full,but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab,accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth,the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring,at the beginning of the barley harvest. (NLT)

Naomi is returning to her home in Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth. She is widowed and her sons have also died. Hence her comments to those welcoming her home. She sadly concludes that her new name should be ‘Mara’ which means ‘bitterness’. Her former name,Naomi,means ‘pleasant’,and life is far from pleasant.

Naomi attributes her misfortune to God. At a distance,armed with our proper,balanced doctrines,we can wag our fingers at Naomi. God is not the source of evil. God does not send disaster. He allows it to happen but is not the cause of it. And yet the Old Testament writers regularly attribute such things to God. It is their way of seeing the world. God is in charge of the world so we can hold him ultimately responsible.

Naomi,in her sadness,sees things this way. While we may question her understanding,we can grasp how she might be feeling. When things turn against us,we shake our fist at God. We may,deep down,realise he is not the source of evil and hardship,but pain doesn’t allow us to get all the fine details right. We trust God,we believe him to be all-powerful,so why is this happening to us? Why has life acquired a bitter taste?

In her bitterness,Naomi represents any who have endured tragedy and loss. We have to read to the end of her story to realise that her God and our God is no punishing sadist but one who fashions victories out of defeats.

David Reay


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