naomi or mara?
The book of Ruth tells the story a mother and daughter-in-law whose husbands have died. The beginning of the account is filled with loss and uncertainty. The lives of Ruth and Naomi have been shattered. Naomi is so distraught that she tells the ladies of the town, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20b).
The name “Naomi” means “pleasant,” but that was the last thing her life was to her at that moment. As the rest of the story unfolds, God’s blessings are seen and appreciated. Ruth finds a lawful and noble husband in Boaz who cares both for her and Naomi, and by the end of the book the women of the city are blessing the Lord for all His blessings on Naomi (Ruth 4:14–15).
How does your life feel today? Are you in a place of pleasantry, where every turn seems to bring greater and greater blessings? Are you in the midst of bitterness, where every breath is labored and your suffering appears to have no end? Maybe you find yourself in a place between the two extremes. However your life feels today, remember the lesson Naomi and Ruth teach us: Loyalty to the Lord assures blessing in the end. Even if you are in the worst days you have experienced, remember that hope for a bright and pleasant future remains for every child of God:
"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11a)
Even if every remaining day of your life is filled with troubles, loyalty to the Lord assures an eternity with Him, an eternity which causes all your current troubles to pale and fall away against its glory (Romans 8:18). Walk with the Lord all your days, and find the true blessing in eternity with Him and with all the saved.
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Eli Schnell is the Youth and Family Minister at the Northwest Church of Christ
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135