It seems impossible to have hope when you are filled with pain and loss and your dreams have been shattered. Although it is difficult to believe that God is near, His sovereignty never sleeps. When our pain is the deepest and our doubt the greatest, God remains with us.
In this passage, Naomi is facing a crisis of faith. Many today understand and share the depths of her pain. She has lost her husband and her two sons. What should be a hopeful feeling to return to her homeland, Bethlehem – the home of her God, her faith, and her people – has left her empty and in despair. Naomi, which means pleasant, now wishes to be called Mara, which means bitter.
In her sadness, Naomi believes that God is punishing her. When faced with despair, our hearts, just like Naomi, can cry out to God.
I am bitter, Lord, because You have dealt very bitterly with me.
How can this be Your plan, Lord? Have I not served You faithfully? Do You even care?
How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? – Psalm 13:1-2
God does not just extend the fullness of His grace and overflowing love during the good times in our lives. God can use our doubts, our fears, and our pain for His glory. Nothing is wasted or without purpose. We can be assured that all of our struggles and our pain are in the loving hands of a loving Father.
Naomi, in her pain, called herself Mara, because she failed to recognize God’s grace. However, God, in His grace, blessed Naomi with a loving husband for many years. In His grace, Naomi and her husband birthed two strong sons who were then able to support and care for her after her husband’s death. In His grace, her sons were married to women, her daughters-in-law, who honored and respected her despite their Moabite upbringing. In His grace, Naomi was able to return to her home and her faith, in Bethlehem, after God had delivered the land from a severe famine.
In God’s grace, Naomi was never alone. She possessed the love and devotion of her daughter-in-law Ruth who shared her same struggles with pain and loss. In His grace, Naomi would become grandmother to Ruth’s first-born, Obed, and share in the majestic ancestry of the lineage of her Messiah, Jesus Christ. God’s grace is exceedingly more abundant than our circumstances, our past, or our pain.
God’s grace pours out love, kindness, favor, and forgiveness to all who place their trust in Him. His grace changes everything. Our plan for our life is often drastically different from God’s purpose for our life. The challenge for believers is to filter our every experience through the love of Jesus Christ and trust His perspective, not our own. Believers must be careful not to judge God’s love for us by our circumstances. Grounding our lives in God’s promises in His Word gives us the confidence to trust His will and His plan for our lives.
But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:5-6
Naomi thought she had lost everything. She thought her family had perished. She thought God had afflicted her. Naomi was wrong. Everything she believed had been lost and perished was restored as a part of God’s plan because of His great love. There are no insignificant people or circumstances in God’s story. Even when we doubt it, God’s love for His people is eternally perfect, unconditional, and inexhaustible until the end of ends.
Have your circumstances derailed your faith in God? How might your emotions be limiting your ability to recognize God’s grace in your life? How might God be using your trials to strengthen your faith and reveal His glory? How can we pray for you as you seek out God’s grace in your life?
Peace and grace to you,
Terria serves on the LGG encourager and social media teams. She lives in Virginia with her husband. She is a proud mother of two beautiful girls in college. Her passionate goal is to ignite and empower a
generation of millennial women to grab hold of God’s truth and cling to it. She can be tracked down hard at work in busy hospitals listening to patients’ stories, while sharing the lessons and love that God has poured out in her life. Despite the sometimes chaotic circumstances of Terria’s life, God always shows Himself strong and loving.
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