There is a woman in the Bible who’s very name means “Pleasant” yet she re-identified herself with the name “Bitter.” Her name is Naomi and she lived 1,140 years before Jesus was born. She was one of the fore-mothers, the ancestors of Jesus Christ, also the great-great grandmother of King David.
Most of us can relate to her situation, because we can relate to loss. We know what it is like to be in pain, to ask “Why GOD?,” to feel like we are not enough or that we are too…ugly, tall, short, young, old, inexperienced, rich, or poor to be used by GOD. We know the feelings of it being much too late for us due to our life circumstances or own failures.
Naomi was all too aware of her situation and found herself in the place of Bitter Thinking. This can occur in our own minds when we are not aware, hardening our hearts in fear, confusion and discontentment.
But Naomi’s life was strategically written by the Sovereign hand of a Loving Father. He wrote her story so eloquently as seen in Psalm 139, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O GOD!”
Knowing that GOD has written down our life story in His book, imagining a chapter dedicated to our own personal lives is quite liberating. It brings us out of the characterization we so often are immersed in, into the mentality of a reader. We are able to see beyond ourselves.
Surely the reader feels for the protagonist, longs to aid the suffering character, wants to set the captive child on page 25 of her book free; but the reader does not lose hope. In fact, she knows that with every turn of the page, no matter the circumstance, the writer will bring forth salvation, some sort of ingenious redemption with the climatic moment of the story line.
It can not end with devastation.
If humanity can fathom the likes of Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, Les Miserables, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, then we can rely on the fact that our GOD will never write a “bad” novel, including the narrative called Our Lives.
He will always bring a good end to every point of devasation introduced within the pages of our text.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28-29
We are the protagonist (the good character), flawed, but in good standing. Because of our flaws, we are relatable, we are human, we are not GOD. But we are redeemable because of our hearts that so long to be with Him, to know Him, to want redemption.
Due to our relation with the Saving Character, JESUS CHRIST, we are able to enter into salvation and join the royal family of the world.
This is our story, we cannot lose, because we know our ending from the beginning. Thus, we have the capacity of being both the reader and the character simultaneously.
Yet we constantly struggle with this duality due to our limited remembrance of the future, the promises of GOD and our positioning. We know it but we must believe it beyond our feelings, through life circumstances and in the midst of great pain.
We are with Naomi in the catastrophic Cinderella moment of feeling pit-like, at the lowest point, ready to give up and quit on ever being in royal positioning. In the midst of mental warfare, frustration, evil sisters (and brothers), great grief, pain, rejection and misunderstanding, we must arise in faith- hearing the voice of our Father from the palace of hope.
In the far distance, we can see the ethereal golden points of an enormous structure, towering over the common land, pointing to an otherworldly oasis entitled Heaven. We dream of walking on its paths of gold, sitting in purple chaises lined with silver, ceilings higher than our necks could stretch and a handsome prince walking by glancing in our direction.
But this moment is oh so temporal, when we snap out of that existence back to the day-to-day hum drum, Waiting Women.
Promises keep brimming in our hearts, due to the constant letters, the King’s stamp brazened as a seal. We unscroll these secret messages, glimmers of hope rising in our yearning hearts.
Yet life remains the same. And no one would ever, could ever understand the words within the sacred scroll:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love;
behold, you are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.”
““Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singingd] has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.”
“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
Who would ever believe that a Prince, a King so great would ever have sent a letter to such a commoner as I?
We are caught in the chilling, bittersweet dichotomy between life as it appears to be and the reality we deeply know to be true- we are more than Waiting Women, we are Waiting Brides! And the day will come when we are swept away in the greatness of His love.
Until then, the letters will keep coming and we have a choice to believe them, trusting they are true, leaning on the voice of an honorable lover.
Can you imagine it?
She passionately cried the words, “Don’t call me Naomi,”…”Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
We may have said the same, yet we know the truth- we are more than conquerors, overcomers, destined to receive The Promises of GOD.
Scriptures for Meditation:
- Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as GOD in Christ forgave you.
- Jeremiah 4:3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.”
- 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves…so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
- Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O GOD, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart to you, GOD, will not despise.
Naomi became bitter in the wait for GOD to finish writing her story, Ruth was patient. We can learn valuable lessons from both as we wait on GOD to do the Impossible.
My Prayer for you:
Father, I pray for each one of your Beloved daughters, no matter how old or young. Please instill in them a resolve to patiently wait on You to bring redemption in their lives. Teach them the art of contentment as they wait and pour out an incomprehensible measure of joy into their lives. I know You want to heal their hearts of all pain and sorrow; I ask that You do so while they wait. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Do you ever struggle with waiting on GOD for healing, answers to prayer or the ability to keep a good attitude in the wait? Please post prayer requests in the comments or share your testimony of how GOD is helping you in the journey.
Love & Blessings!