Naomi’s story is one of personal tragedy and feeling alone, without hope. But it is one that encourages me when it seems like everything is going wrong in my life.
Naomi’s husband had died, along with her two sons. All she had left were two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi had nothing to offer either of these women, so with the encouragement of Naomi, Orpah returned to her family and country. Ruth stayed with Naomi, but had to adjust to living in Naomi’s country and among Naomi’s people, herself a widow as well. She also had to go out and gather leftover grain in the fields in order to provide some food for her mother-in-law and herself.
Naomi must have been filled with grief and despair, because when she returned to her people, she asked them not to call her Naomi anymore, which means “pleasant” but Mara, which means “bitter.” She told them that the “Almighty has made my life very bitter” (Ruth 1:20).
But God was at work behind the scenes. He did not leave Naomi without hope. God sent salvation for her in the form of Boaz, a relative of hers. In a very symbolic ceremony, he redeemed the “lostness” of Naomi, giving her a future and a hope. When Boaz and Ruth married, they had a son who would be part of the lineage of Christ, the ultimate Redeemer.
No matter how lost you feel right now, God is at work on your behalf in ways that you may not be able to see. God’s very nature is one of Redeemer, of buying back lost or hopeless causes. He may seem far away at times, but he has not forgotten about you. He sees you in your grief and in your disillusionment with life. Help is coming!
Redeemer God, you know the despair I feel at times. Help me to believe that you’ve already made a way for me, and that you are going before me, even if I cannot see what you are doing for me right now. Help me to trust in Jesus, my Kinsman-Redeemer! Amen.
Go Deeper — Do you believe God is working behind the scenes in your life? Read these passages that emphasize God’s purpose and see if they encourage you.
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