“Don’t call me Naomi, ” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20-21 NIV)
It is worth bearing in mind the degree of bitterness that was the basis for the beauty in this book.
Famine sends a family away from their homeland. Strangers in a strange land the family expand when the two sons marry, but then shrinks at the death of all of the menfolk – father and sons – with no offspring from them.
Naomi’s bitterness is justified. She has lost everything. It is more than understandable why she sees it as the hand of the Lord bringing misfortune her way. When bad things happen, it is fair to say it as you see it and say it as you have experienced it.
What is intriguing, though, is in the middle of it all, as she is about to return home, she has enough to bless her daughters-in-law. She gives the blessing of kindness and new husbands. That blessing is the basis of this book even though at the time all that surrounded Naomi was the sight of the misfortune she suffered.
Her example, however, evidently left a deep impact on Ruth. Here was someone from Moab who was willing to leave everything she was used to in order to follow her mother-in-law. A lot is made of Ruth’s dedication and devotion to Naomi which speaks volumes of Ruth’s character. It also, however, speaks to what it is about Naomi so that even in her bitter state, the blessing on her character would be such a strong attraction to Ruth to essentially commit the rest her life to her.
Tough times are the making and the breaking of us. Even in the breaking, there can be the smallest signs of blessing even through the people God allows to stay with us through the tough times.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden