* Means "pleasantness" in Hebrew
* She lived in Bethlehem.
*Married to Elimelech, a God fearing man,
from the tribe of Judah
* Blessed with two sons, Mahlon and Chilion
All was good. Most likely she was living her dream.
Naomi did what any parent would do,
go find food!
go find food!
Life as she knew it would never be the same.
Upon arriving to Moab, their new home,
(Escaping the lion, they ran into a bear.)
Perhaps she always assumed her sons would marry
Inevitably, her two boys marry Moabite women.
We can handle this.
the straw that breaks the camel's back,
both sons die.
They say, "three strikes you're out."
Four strikes makes one bitter.
After her unrecoverable losses, she returns home to Bethlehem.
I imagine everyone came out to greet her and offer condolensces.
"Naomi, we're so sorry."
From "pleasnt" to "bitter".
She was a wife, now a widow.
She was a mom, now she's childless.She had joy, now she mourns.
She once believed, now she's not so sure.
She's not the same young, innocent "pleasant" woman who once ventured off with her husband to build a life together filled with hopes and dreams. Oh no, please, don't call her that anymore!
That girl is l-o-n-g gone.
Naomi not only grieved the obvious, now she'd be forced to return home to live the life of an outcast widow. No money. No family. Old. She had no other sons to redeem Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law who refused to leave. She was young enough to go back to her father's house and start over. But, Ruth wouldn't have it. So what? Now, they're going to live together? Two widows?
Uh huh? And what?
I love Naomi because she was real, honest and genuine. In my opinion, this may have been the very key to her deliverance.
She didn't hide her pain to protect her piety.
She didn't wear a mask to maintain a reputation.
After having witnessed the parting of the Red Sea, the wonder quickly faded when the Israelites realized they were in the middle of a desert, with no drinking water!
Thirst was slowly stripping away their joy.
Imagine, wandering through a dry desert, thirsty. No water in sight. All you have is sand, spiders, cacti, and a promise.
You're traveling with your children, your parents, and your animals. You don't want to seem ungrateful,
but if you don't find water soon, you'll just - die.
After three days, the Israelites found a brook. I can just see the kids sprinting towards the water first, adults following. They swallow it up in gulps! Ah. . . Then - wait! GROSS! (Spit)
The water was bitter.
Moses called the brook, "Marah", meaning bitter water. Nonetheless, God, had a miracle already waiting. He instructed Moses to touch the water with a tree branch.
Instantly, the waters were sweetened.
Naomi never lived a life of an outcast widow,
neither did her daughter-in-law.
Miraculously, a very rich distant relative of Elimelech
fell in love with Ruth, and the rest is history.
Even through Naomi's deep depression, when she couldn't feel God, and she even blamed Him, His love did not run out on her. He never intended for her to live in solitude and die;
her story was not over yet.
There were chapters still waiting to be written.
Our God is steadfast with us, even through our darkest hours. Even when we say things we don't really mean, or believe,
words breeded in pain or suffering.
His Spirit remains close.
Our "Marah" experiences are not intended to make us bitter,
they are opportunities God can use to write an amazing story that will highlight His love and redemption through us.
My prayer today is that we would not lose sight of His faithfulness in the middle of our "Marah" experiences. He already has a solution in waiting. Let's come back home and allow him to sweeten our waters.
I'm linking up with Holley Gerth: Coffee for Your Heart.
Stop by for more encouraging words.