Scripture Reading: Ruth 1:1-5
“But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her sons and her husband.” (Ruth 1:3-5)
The older I get the more I realize that life doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped it would When we are young, we have great hopes and dreams for our lives. But as we live out our days in this fallen world, we begin to face difficulties, trials, disappointments, hardships, suffering and death. Christians are not exempt from suffering. Jesus clearly stated, “In the world you will have troubles” (John 16:33). We should not be surprised when troubles come our way.
Naomi faced many tragedies in her life. She and her husband lived in Bethlehem during a famine (v. 1). They lost all their land and possessions. Evidently Elimelech became bitter and walked away from his faith. He led his family to the land of Moab. He must have been saying to himself (and maybe to others), “If God is not supplying our needs here, we will leave and supply our own needs.” Further evidence that he left his faith is found in the names he gave his two sons — Mahlon and Chilion. These are Canaanite names! Surely Naomi struggled greatly as she saw the bitterness of her husband.
Things got worse for Naomi in Moab. Elimelech died. After he had taken her from their homeland, he died leaving her in a foreign land. But greater tragedy awaited her — her two sons died also. Only a mother who has lost a child can appreciate the pain Naomi experienced. A person who faces tragedies like those Naomi faced will either blame God for them or flee to Him in them.
As we work through the book of Ruth, we will see how God uses the most challenging circumstances of our lives to shape us (see: Romans 5:3-5). While we Christians are not exempt from the sufferings of life, we have Jesus with us in them. He alone will take us through our pain and grief. He alone can hold us in the midst of the storms of life. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2,3a).
Lord Jesus, I know when I face the difficulties of life that I am not alone, You are with me in them and You will take me through them. You have been with me through the most painful experiences of my life and You have never failed me. You give me courage, hope, comfort and strength. Thank You for Your presence in my life.
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