“But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?… Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
“But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” Ruth 1:11, 14, 20
I am glad to come your way again after a month’s hiatus. We have already stepped into the second month of the second half of the year, and all too soon, we will be wishing each other season’s greetings.
Today’s blog post will be centered around the response of three women who found themselves in adverse circumstances. It is a story I think we can all relate to presently.
For you to understand the whole story, you will have to read the entire chapter 1 of Ruth in the Bible. The book of Ruth also contains 4 chapters, and when read, you will appreciate the wisdom from this book.
The story starts off with three women who were all married. Naomi was the mother in law to Ruth and Orpah. Naomi and her husband, Elimelech were migrants from Bethlehem, Judah to the country of Moab, because of famine. They settled with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, and their sons married.
Naomi was already a widow before her two sons married. Within a matter of time, all three women became widows. What a terrible tragedy of a story. Life’s puzzles can be too overwhelming for the human mind. Why should all three be widows? I don’t understand, neither do I have answers. In the past four and half months, the globe is searching for answers after the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic: untold hardships, bills, deaths, sicknesses, depressions, job losses, economies shrinking etc
I realize the responses of these women to their tough and unpleasant moments mirrors us in this same predicament.
1. Naomi’s response– she was bitter. She even changed her name from Naomi which means “my delight” to Mara which means “bitterness” due to calamities. Can you blame her? Certainly not, losing your husband and two sons is more than a handful. People have become bitter in this season. She became bitter and blamed God for her predicament. She didn’t even want company from her daughters in law. During this time, people are snappy, short tempered and moody. Many are a shell of themselves now; most people who were friendly are now withdrawn and aloof. Let us learn to bear with them, pray for them and show them love.
2. Orpah‘s response– she went back (perhaps to her father’s house). That posture was hopelessness. I am sure she had an expectation of a long and happy marriage, but here are her dreams dashed- her husband is dead. The theme of this season is, “life is unfair”. I see the faces of hopelessness everywhere. I don’t know of you. It is understandable. Listening to the news report at this time can make you throw your hands in despair. Too much sadness; people don’t even know what to expect again. Business owners feel hopeless because they have had to close down the business and also file for bankruptcy in addition.
3. Ruth’s response– she clung unto Naomi. I call it the posture of perseverance. If you take time to read the book, Ruth followed her mother in law to Bethlehem, where she worked hard, met her future husband in Boaz, got married and gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of the mighty King David of Israel. From this lineage came Jesus Christ. There are few Ruths. Honestly, it is not easy at this time to be upbeat about life and have a positive attitude. I don’t know how Ruth developed such inner fortitude, but what I can learn from this story is she chose to be persistent.
During this difficult season, we have a choice to be bitter, hopeless or persistent. One of the factors to fortitude is prayer. Commit to prayer and ask God for strength to soldier on.
I pray you will get some sort of inspiration and encouragement out of this post today.
Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love