“Do not call me Naomi (pleasant); call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” Ruth 1:20
This lament came from Naomi soon after she had said to her daughters-in-law, “the hand of the Lord has gone out against me” (v 13). Naomi understood that her husband should not have taken her and their sons out of the Promised Land and neither should he have permitted his sons to marry Gentile women. Her husband and both her sons had now died so she had no one to provide for her. She interpreted this to mean that the Lord was punishing her.
When trials come our way we may think that they are because we have offended God in some way but that is an unbiblical way of viewing our walk with Jesus. We are not told why or under what circumstances Naomi’s husband and sons died. People do die for a multitude of reasons but it would be wrong to believe that any death was for a specific reason unless God makes it clear that such is the case.
Naomi could not see at that time that her bereavement was preparation for, and would lead to, a most wonderful blessing. She wrongly believed that the Lord was against her and was punishing her. How wrong we are when we make the same error. The very trial we are experiencing today may be preparation for the outpouring of a blessing tomorrow. Many have found it so.
Read the book of Ruth through and ponder on the blessings that came Naomi’s way. She received a most loyal daughter-in-law who abandoned her gods for the one true God. Through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, all the lands of Naomi’s husband were returned and his heritage restored. She was now provided for all her days. A further blessing was that her heritage included the lineage to Israel’s Kings David and Solomon. Further down that family line came Israel’s Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) who is Jesus Christ the Lord.
Naomi would not have known all this at the time but even just seeing her husband’s lands and heritage restored opened her eyes to see that the Lord was not angry or bitter toward her (2:20). The leading people of the town blessed her without realising the extent to which it would be fulfilled (4:11-12). The women also blessed Naomi without knowing the wonderful way that too would be fulfilled.
Because she wrongly interpreted her trial Naomi thought the Lord was punishing her when all along he was preparing the way for wonderful blessing. Surely this is at least part of the reason that James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
The trial you are enduring today may be preparation for blessing tomorrow.