...Do not call me Naomi (pleasant); Call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. (Ruth 1:20)
It is comforting to know that God is in total control and His plans for us are perfect in every way; The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 10:9) But sometimes life seems overwhelming, without purpose or hope.
I'm sure Naomi felt this way. She lost her husband and both sons and all of her worldly processions. Not only was this widow now all alone and destitute, but she also was far away from her family and friends. Life for Naomi was hard and seemed hopeless; "...for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me." (Ruth 1:13b)
Yet, Naomi understood that, even when life is hard, God is still in control. He is sovereign over nature, people, and events. There are no surprises for Him and no chance happenings. Everything God does is with purpose and for our ultimate good; And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:12)
Even though God is sovereign, we are still to trust and obey Him at all times. Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, remained faithful and obedient, not knowing what was ahead for them. As you read the Book of Ruth you see how Naomi and Ruth encouraged each other. They made plans and moved forward in faith and the Lord continued to direct their paths!
This kind of blind faith and total obedience, without losing heart, brings glory to God and blessings to us. Naomi and Ruth experienced God's blessing during their life time and, as believers, for all eternity. The Apostle Paul's life was hard. He suffered much as a faithful servant and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was finally executed in a Roman prison. So... where is the blessing? Paul also understood God's sovereignty and that the temporal sufferings in this life cannot even be compared to our eternal blessings; Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. ( 2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
If you are going through a hard time today and life seems overwhelming, I encourage you to read through the little Book of Ruth.You will be reminded that God is in control, that He has a perfect plan, that we must always remain faithful and obedient to Him, and that He will indeed bring blessing in this life and the eternal life to come; May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge. (Ruth 2:12) Maranatha!