“‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she told them. ‘Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 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 1:20-21 NIV

In the book of Ruth, Naomi knew all too well the concept of ‘feeling subjected to frustration.’ Due to famine that occurred in her homeland of Bethlehem, in Judah, Naomi, along with her husband and two sons had to relocate to a place called Moab. it was in Moab where Naomi experienced a greater level of grief with the death of her husband and two sons. The grief of having to be uprooted from her homeland, due to the famine, was complicated by the loss of her family, leaving her uncertain about the future, uncomfortable in her current environment and unprotected as a widow.

The challenge of being in such circumstances is the natural inclination of trying to make sense of, or reason how something good can come out of the condition of our current circumstances that oftentimes facilitates despair. Upon hearing God was bringing relief to His people in Bethlehem, Naomi was prompted to return to Judah with her two daughters-in-law. In the book of Isaiah, God spoke to His people about having the ability to see, perceive, the new things He was doing that would inspire hope in Him to fulfill what He promised and perform what He had spoken regarding the restoration of His people. Though she was encouraged by the report of God’s activity in Bethlehem, Naomi struggled internally about what had already transpired, because she sought to discourage her daughter-in-law from traveling with her back to Bethlehem. In the direction she was heading, Naomi could not see any good coming out of what had already transpired. Fortunately for Naomi, God did not leave her alone in the face of famine, death, misfortune, grief and bitterness.

God used Ruth (accountability partner) to motivate and move Naomi from a place of great loss, grief and bitterness towards a place of restoration and blessing. Like Naomi, we may have encountered being uprooted, displaced, surrounded by what is unfamiliar, isolated in a place of lack/famine, grieving the loss of loved ones due to death and/or wrestling with God, bitterness and anger, but what would God say to us to get us moving towards something greater, better and new? “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 NIV As we encounter the troubles of this life that Jesus said we would have, God desires to show us His salvation that strengthens us and deepens our faith walk with Him to inspire others to embrace salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

May God bless you and help you to overcome and prevail against the antithesis of what would allow you to encounter the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

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