“Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.
~ Ruth 1:20-21 (CSB)
As followers of Christ, we must celebrate and give thanks for what we have rather than grieve over what we do not have.
I have blogged about Naomi before so I will try not to be redundant. Naomi means ‘Pleasant’ and Mara means ‘bitter.’ Naomi said, “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back on empty.” When she told her daughter-in-laws to go back to their parents, Naomi said, “My life is much too bitter for you to share, because the LORD’s hand is against me.” I wonder who put that thought in her mind? Sounds a lot like the one who whispered to Eve. The devil has always used evil and bad circumstances to convince we humans that God is against us. It would be a huge mistake for me to make light of Naomi’s grief. Her grief was very real. Losing a husband is one thing but losing all your children is another. How does a person keep going when they have experienced such traumatic grief? Most of us cannot relate to Naomi. Naomi lost her entire family. I cannot imagine the agony of losing one, let alone the entire family. So do not misunderstand this blog. I am not making light of Naomi’s grief. However, there is a truth here for those of us who have never suffered the loss of a spouse or child. No one has everything they want; at least I don’t know of anyone who has everything they want. Very few of us have managed to survive without some form of rejection: broken engagement, divorce, being ignored, being shunned or some other form of being ostracized. I know how it feels to be blackballed, do you? So would you agree that most of us have some emotional bumps and bruises. We have experienced some losses. I’m here to tell you that the devil with capitalize on these if we are not careful. He is a master at getting us to focus on our loses, or what we don’t have and if we stay focused on such things long enough: the results is a bitter or ungrateful spirit.
What I want you to understand is this: it is not a temptation for only those who have suffered major loses. It is a temptation for those of us have have suffered minor loses. Whereas it is true that we can blame ourselves for bad decisions; Naomi’s loses were not decisions; they were things that were out of her control. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions and that is on me but I’ve also suffered loses that were out of my control. You can’t imagine how many times I have replayed these events in my mind and to this day, I do not understand why they happened. However, I am convinced that God has used all of these things as part of my conditioning. The attitude He, by His marvelous grace, has formed in me is a by product of all these disappointments. If God had only given me success, I would lack the character to be a servant? The joy of my life is to serve, to help people. Where did this come from and how did it come to be? I am being honest when I say, “I have no desire to be a professional athlete or a politician,” and there was a time that I aspired to be both. It would be a step down for me to become the President. I pray for Mr. Trump but I have no desire to hold his office. There are certain things that we are going to have to deal with until we draw our last breath or Jesus comes: pride is one but disappointment is another. Don’t let the devil con you into blaming God for all the disappointments. Take my advice: focus on what you have and be thankful.
No extra worth speaking of: I hope you have a great day and a great weekend. I will say that the senior adult Christmas Party went great and we had a huge turnout, the most by far that I remember. I know one thing: they consumed 48 fried Apple Pies.