Today’s article is another installment in Sister Alena X. Ricci’s series on the women of the Bible. It’s also the companion article to the story on Ruth that appeared in the January issue of The Gospel News. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out!
Naomi’s story is a unique one, but one that is achingly familiar. Her husband passes, and then so do both of her sons, leaving her a widow along with her daughters-in-law.
When she decides to return to her home, Ruth stays with her, and they travel back to Bethlehem, for she heard that it was blessed once more after a period of famine and that God had given His people food.
She enters Bethlehem and declares herself Mara, because God had “testified against her” and because she was now empty. Her life was depressing and she had nothing.
Naomi enters a new life already expecting it to be awful.
She comes to the place where she heard of God’s goodness to His people and walks in upset and bitter, declaring that God had abandoned her.
But did He not deliver her there? Did he not sustain her to get her back to Him?
She starts over but is unable to see past her current sorrow.
Let’s apply this to a regular Sunday.
Maybe you had a bad week; let’s say you were fired from work. You go to church on Sunday, where you know that God has blessed your brothers, sisters, and even you before.
But you walk in bitter, upset, angry, and completely unable to see past your own feelings into the gifts that God is presenting you.
Ruth ends up marrying Boaz and gives birth to a son, and Scripture says that the women turn to Naomi and say that God is good and that He never left her.
Even in the end, Naomi is not the one to say that God is good but is told so by the women around her.
After that bad week, God blesses you, and are you the one who talks about it, or are you the one who is told that God has been good to you?
Naomi is a reminder that God is good and that He is moving in our lives. She is a reminder that even when your life is at the absolute worst point it could be, He is still there and is still guiding you towards Him.
Naomi walked into Bethlehem without remembering that she got there only because God protected her and Ruth on the way. She was able to eat only because of God’s goodness. She had a new family because of His love for her.
God is powerful; He loves you, and He is protecting you in those little steps towards giving you a full life, towards restoring you.
Image credit: Detail from “Naomi and Her Daughters” by George Dawe, 1804
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.