I realise that some of you reading this devotional this morning are deeply hurting. Perhaps, like Naomi, you’re well acquainted with struggle, disappointment and grief and it’s hard to see far beyond this. When Naomi spoke out in her disillusionment she had no idea what plan God was setting into motion to redeem her losses. (You will need to read the rest of the book of Ruth to find out exactly how God did.) She could only see her pain, and that pain was blinding her. Hearing her name spoken with the Hebrew tongue was more than she could bear, because it seemed to mock her. Naomi means ‘pleasant’ and was hardly fitting for a woman who’d lost her husband and two sons. She considered Mara, which means ‘bitter’ to be a much more fitting name. Yet there must also have been a small flame of hope in Naomi’s heart, or she would never have embarked on the perilous journey between Moab and Israel. Something deep within her still believed God might have something good in store for her, so she headed back to her Bethlehem and to her people.
I don`t know what you’re facing today, but God knows, and He`s with you, whether you perceive it or not. God doesn`t change, so the God of Naomi is also our God. He is still the God who heals, the God who redeems and the God who comforts! If He can do it for Naomi and a multitude of others in the Bible, He can also do it for me and you.
In 2006 my mother died suddenly, and I well remember the grief of those early days. I would clutch a pillow tightly to my body and cry so violently that I thought my heart would break. God felt a million miles away until the day I got a glimpse of Him through the tears. As I was driving back to my home one afternoon, I turned on to the motorway and was overcome by the sight of a brilliant rainbow. Instantaneously the words of a hymn by George Matheson invaded my mind and I was very aware that I wasn’t alone in my pain. God was there with me and He’d seen every tear. I felt as if He’d reached down from heaven and used that rainbow to get my attention. These were the words that so filled my heart with hope:
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.
There were still many days of grieving ahead for me, but the way I saw my pain had changed. I knew that I was going to make it to the other side of the grief and that I was not alone. God has the same message for you today.
Prayer: Father God, some of Your children are really hurting today. You know the circumstances they’re facing and how hard it is for them to hold on to hope. Would You reassure them that You’re with them today, and give them courage for the journey ahead. Amen.
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