“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods.Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave youor to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my peopleand your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,if even death separates you and me.”18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara,because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.21 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.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite,her daughter-in-law,arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. (Ruth 1-4)
Naomi was feeling the bitterness of grieving. Her life felt marked and set aside for sorrow. Yet, despite her pain she did not run from the Lord to wither and die, rather she moved toward him. She still hoped.
Ruth was grieving too. Yet she didn’t forget that our sorrow is always someone else’s too. She found solace in holding on to her mom-in-love.
Naomi had opened her arms to a foreigner. Had taken her in as a daughter-in-law. Naomi had spent time making a relationship that would weather storms. Naomi could not have known that in simply accepting, loving and opening arms as family, she was leading Ruth, long before Ruth would follow. And as life unfolded, and was stripped away, Naomi found herself with a relationship solid and true as she led them both back to the real Provider. The One who sees and would fill their arms with Life.
King David’s Great, oh so great, Grandmas.
“Affliction” becomes affirmation.
Grief is a booger. It slays. It paralyzes. Grief escorts all scraps of hope to the grave with it, making its victims wait – what seems interminably long – for resurrection.
When we grieve, who we are in heart and what we believe in Truth shift to autopilot – beyond our control.
Grief will touch each of us. And as it does, it will be the relationships we have already built that will stand. It will be running to God – not from – that will slowly remove Grief’s bitter taste from our heart.
It will be Jesus, who knows too intimately the Way, taking our hand through the grave He was laid…only Him that will be able to bring us through to the other side.
And it will be then with Hope-washed glasses that we clearly see that :
our momentary suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Life has, and will forever, defeat Death.
Lord, Naomi loved and was loved, and even through the suffering Love won. Please remind this day and always what’s really important.