“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 1:21
This verse indicates to me that Naomi believed in God, but thought God had turned against her. Her life had certainly turned very different from what she likely had envisioned. Famine had driven Naomi and her husband Elimelech with their two sons out of Judah to the land of Moab. Elimelech, died in Moab. Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. Ten years later, and without any children, Naomi’s two sons die. Naomi is left with two daughter in laws. This certainly seems to create hopeless circumstances for Naomi.
The book of Ruth has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. Until recently, it has been a story of redemption to me; a beautiful romantic story of restoration and redemption. As I have studied and reflected on the book of Ruth this past week, it seemed more a story about the unstoppable power of God’s call on our life. I love that about the Bible; that God’s Word is alive and ever able to minister to us with exactly what we need in any circumstance. This is because The Word Is God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
As I thought about Naomi, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be her; a woman who surely felt like she had lost everything….everything that mattered most to her. At that time in history, she lost not only the people she loved the most, but also her identity, her security, her position, her inheritance and everything that connected her to this earth. Her circumstances certainly seemed bleak. Hopeless even.
While I cannot begin to fathom this kind of loss, I do know what it feels like to suddenly find yourself trying to navigate your way through circumstances that leave you feeling lost and hopeless. When the script of your life has been edited such that you no longer recognize anything as familiar; when what you thought would be your identity until death do you part is taken from you; when what you thought would be forever turned out to actually only be temporary, you feel like someone has plucked you right out of your own life and dropped you right in the middle of someone else’s life. I know what it feels like to have the life you had planned be completely re-written with what you fear is an uncertain, but probable unhappy ending. Also like Naomi, I know the feeling of God’s love calling out in me the plan He has for me.
There is much about Naomi that we do not know; but we do know that she believed in God and feared that because of her hopeless circumstances, God had turned against her. Ruth 1:20 We also know that Naomi did have some measure of faith. We know this because she trusted God enough to go back to her home land of Bethlehem when she heard that God had restored food to Judah. Little did Naomi know that this small amount of faith put into action would restore all that was lost. As the story goes, Naomi and Ruth began their journey of faith together bringing to fruition the call that God had on each of their lives.
Naomi’s bitterness is turned to joy. In the end, she gains a son-in-law who would provide for both her and Ruth. She also becomes a grandmother to Ruth’s son, Obed, who would be in the lineage of King David and most importantly would be in the family line of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ – the greatest redeemer of all! Naomi had not lost her inheritance, she found her inheritance! God had a call on Naomi’s life that no earthly circumstance could thwart. The story of Naomi and Ruth shows us that what God wants to do through our life is contingent upon the people God puts in our life and that we do not interpret God through our circumstances, but interpret our circumstances through God.
God has a call on all our lives that no circumstance, even those that we create, can stop if we simply act on whatever measure of faith we have. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 ~ Tracey
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Tracey McDonald is a wife, mother and Mia to three precious little grand baby blessings. She enjoys all things creative; writing, crafting, painting and journaling. She has a heart for prayer; particularly praying for women, children and families. She is a former nurse and practicing attorney; but her most worthy job is serving God by loving others. Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.