I find the book of Ruth a very deeply moving account of how a broken-hearted and despairing lady finds healing in her hopelessness. Her name is Naomi.
Naomi and her husband have two sons with strange names. They are Mahlon (invalid) and Kilyon (pining). I wonder what is going on. Was a baby sick or disabled from birth? Was the second baby the only one of twins to survive? Was he born pining? We’re not told. But we know that when famine hit the land, Naomi and her family leave their home and flee the country.
Things get worse. Naomi’s husband dies a refugee. Naomi marries the two sons to local girls but then both her sons die. She is left destitute. At her lowest place, she hears a rumour that there is food at home in Bethlehem. The famine is over.
As the broken and bereaved Naomi turns back for home, Ruth, her daughter in law, comes too. The village give Naomi such a welcome on her return! She can’t bear it. Don’t call me ‘Naomi’ (pleasant), she begs. Call me ‘Mara’ (bitter). Everything has fallen apart for me.
But Naomi, in her despair, had somehow stumbled back to the land where God was. In her no-hope, she was turning back to God. She had chosen to come back, in all her bitterness. And God heard Naomi’s heart cry of despair when she was too upset and low even to articulate it.
This is a story of restoration and healing. By Chapter 3 we see Naomi coming alive. You can hear the animation in her voice as she tells Ruth: “Put on your best clothes, wash your hair, anoint yourself with the best oil you have, and the best perfumes”. She is beginning to take the initiative for her daughter in law’s welfare. This is a lady coming back to hope. If you haven’t read the story for ages, do read it again now! You feel God in every step of the way as godly people get involved, and Naomi and Ruth are brought into a new family.
The women of the village rejoice when Naomi’s first little grandson is born. The baby is Ruth’s, but the joy is for the once broken-hearted despairing Naomi! This is a story of God’s healing and restoration. He lifts up the broken-hearted, those who have been hit hard by the sledge hammer of life events and wrong choices. He holds out his arms of acceptance and love to those who turn towards him in their despair. And he can heal broken hearts. This is why Jesus came. Have a look at Luke 4: 18-19. If this is you today, you can turn to him and ask him to bring his deep healing.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You made me for deep and safe relationship with You. I am turning to You now to receive Your love and healing in my life, Amen.
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