I’ve been reading the book of Ruth the past several weeks. I’ve read it numerous other times but something different jumped out at me going over the first couple of chapters.
Naomi is annoying. Yes, she suffered greatly with the loss of her husband and sons. She wasn’t near her friends and family. Life didn’t go according to plan. It didn’t make her response any less annoying for me to read. Her attitude turns to one of “woe is me”. She says, “don’t call me Naomi; call me Mara, God dealt bitterly with me. I went away full and came back empty.”
Compare Naomi to another individual in the Bible who also came up against some rotten circumstances: Job. His response to suffering was to tear his robe, shave his head, and fall on the ground and worship. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job make the decision to worship God and trust in Him even though his life was turned upside down. Even in the midst of his suffering.
Only when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem and the Lord blessed Ruth’s gleaning from Boaz’s field did Naomi change her tune. She went from “the Lord has brought calamity upon me” to “His kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead”
How easy it can be for me to get caught up in life and issues and stuff. I worry about health, finances, family, decisions. It’s so easy to act like Naomi, feel sorry for myself and the circumstances and uncertainty that I’m going through.
I became annoyed with Naomi simply reading about her. How much more so do those around me get frustrated with me. I imagine they are wanting to say “Just stop. Let it go. Remember who God is. Continue to bless Him even when it’s hard. Count on Him to help you.” They see the big picture as I’m caught up in my own little self-focused world. Not only is it annoying it’s also dishonoring to my God.
In Philippians we are told not be anxious about anything. Peter tells us to cast all our anxieties on him. In James it says to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds.
It’s not okay to wait until the trials and worries are over and I am looking back that I trust Him. That doesn’t require trust and faith. Instead, in the midst of the battle, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of pain, I’m called to trust Him and to let Him carry my burdens however heavy they may be.
When life comes at me, I want my response to be like that of Job’s no matter my worry over medical results, loss, finances, decisions or uncertainty. I want to cast my cares on Him even while I’m waiting for the test results to come. I want my automatic response to be one of praising and blessing God.
It’s not easy. In fact, sometimes I may not even want to but how much better it is when I obey.
What have you found to help your response be one of praise in the midst of the unknown?
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