Tonight we started one of my favorite books….the book of Ruth. You see, Ruth is a woman of the bible who I have grown to greatly respect and admire. She is someone who I would have wanted very much to be BFFs with! Not because we have so much in common or because we’re kindred spirits…but because of the way she was with her mother in law, Naomi. Now, Naomi and I could probably be twins in many ways…especially the Naomi at the beginning of the book.
A couple of points were made tonight about the life of Naomi that really got me thinking and, honestly, looking at myself a little deeper. I gained further insight into things I already realized about myself, but needed a fresh perspective to understand the desert that I am in.
You see, Naomi suffered a great loss when she not only followed her husband to a new city and left her relatives and friends, but then her husband and two sons died. She now had no legacy. Sure, she had two daughter in laws, but they didn’t have any children. Her sons were never given the opportunity to father children. So Naomi did what I’m sure any of us would do…she fell into depression, anger and self-pity. She tried to push everyone away from her so that she could isolate herself and withdraw into her grief and in her anger at God.
Our teacher presented these points/questions to us and I hope that they get you thinking about your own actions when hard times arise and you find yourself in your own personal deserts:
He shared a personal story with us that really hit home, concerning his question about “Who do I blame…?” Him and his wife attended a conference once where the speaker was Gary Chapman. Some of you may have heard of him. He has written many books on relationships and how to grow closer to each other by following God’s command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives to respect their husbands. Many of us don’t know what that looks like or how to go about doing that, so he has helped many couples learn ways to try to do just that. Probably his most popular publication is “The 5 Love Languages.”
During the conference Mr. Chapman shared how God had led him to the “woman of his dreams” and how she later became his wife. She was everything he had been looking for. He believed that she had all of the qualities he was looking for, that they were on the “same page.” Then, after getting married, she started to do things. He started to ask God “why did you bring us together? We are NOT compatible!” Like so many of us, after the thrill of newness wears off and “real life” sets in, we start to learn the ugly along with the good. Their marriage began to struggle. I don’t know a single person who can’t agree with the statement that “we tend to treat the people we love the most, the worst.” Or perhaps, we seek to place the blame on someone else and who’s the first one in the line of fire? Our spouse.
Our teacher then said something….he realized, that any time he wants to place the blame on someone else, like his spouse or himself, or he wants to get angry at the way things have turned out…he’s essentially blaming God. Isn’t our very life God’s design? God allows the bad to happen in order for us to grow closer to Him and to bring Him glory. Not to make us miserable and start to treat others with contempt or to cast those closest to us aside because they aren’t fulfilling our desires. Rather, to understand that it is no one’s fault. We all deal with our troubles differently, but when we look to God and his goodness, we are given a stream in our desert and we gain all of the desires we could possibly imagine through His love for us! If we can do that “simple” thing then we will gain more joy than we could possibly keep to ourselves and would have no choice but to share it with others. Especially our spouses, friends, people we encounter and most of all, with God himself.
In the first chapter, Naomi blamed God for everything that happened. In my life, I blamed God. I suffered great loss at a very young age. The loss of my innocence. Then over the years I lost my self esteem, my self worth, my identity, my confidence. I lashed out at those closest to me by turning my fear in anger and hurt, hurtful words and actions. I tried to numb myself with addictions and anger. I tried to push everyone who offered me kindness and love away. The very people who were showing me love and I refused them and their love.
Then I found Jesus…or rather He found me. I began to understand that God wasn’t trying to punish me or to prove to me that I wasn’t worth anything. That I wan’t just placed on this earth to suffer and to be just a pawn in his game of power until He was the only one left standing. I was trying to play the role of the opposing King and there could only be one victor…Him. He wasn’t playing a game. He was trying to bring me closer to Him and to his true purpose for my life. To let me come home to him and to never suffer again! It’s what He is trying to do each and every time I face a struggle.
It’s what He was trying to do with Naomi. He placed people, like Ruth, in His life so that her daughter could be an encouragement to her and so that, once she realized a pity party of one isn’t so great, Naomi could then lead Ruth to God. To be the ancestor of Christ himself. Talk about a legacy!
The struggles you’re facing….they are no one’s “fault.” Yes, each decision has a consequence. Something will follow. However, you can trust that it is God’s design and His design is to bring you joy and an eternity of peace.Tags: anger, Blame, Death, faith, Faithfulness, Family, Friend, God, Loss, Naomi, Pity, Rebirth, Ruth, Troubles, Truth
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