A Reflection on Ruth 1:20-21
Have you ever felt like your life has gotten completely out of control, and all seems lost? No matter where you turn you seem to find tragedy and loss. You turn on the News and see bombs flying and children dying. You look in your own home and you see conflict, financial tension, sickness, or even death.
When life gets like this it is natural to look up to the heavens and think, “God, why are you doing this to me?”
This is exactly how Naomi felt at the beginning of the book of Ruth. The political scene was chaos. Her people–the twelve tribes of Israel–were out of control. The last line of the book of Judges, right before Ruth starts says that, in Israel, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” It was total anarchy. Plus there was a famine in the land. The famine was so bad that Naomi and her husband had to leave the country and live with foreigners just to survive.
Now, Naomi’s husband is dead. Her two sons are dead. All she has left is a foreign daughter-in-law and…nothing. She’s broke, and she’s hungry.
When she builds up enough courage to go back home, the people look at her and say, “Is this Naomi?”
Here’s the irony. Her name means pleasant. She looks at the people and says, “Don’t call me that. Call me Mara, because Mara means bitter.”
There she is, the bitter woman. Have you ever felt like Naomi? There is enough tragedy in the world, and enough garbage at home that each of us could easily say, “call me Mara.”
This week we are going to look at how God works in the life of this bitter woman through the most unexpected of people: A foreigner.
No matter how bitter and barren your life might seem right now, remember the last line of Ruth chapter 1: “They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.” Hope is not lost, it’s just budding. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.