Ruth 1:20 – 21 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “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.”
Naomi, Naomi. What happened to the sweet, pleasant woman who left Bethlehem ten years earlier? Remember, her name means pleasant. But apparantly, her sweet nature had its restrictions. She was pleasant as long as things were going her way. She was even pleasant when things became a little difficult. But, like most of us, she had a limit. And she was tired of being pleasant.
Here, we witness Naomi having a bit of a meltdown. “Don’t call me Naomi!” she tells her long lost loved ones. “Don’t call me pleasant. I’m tired of being pleasant! Call me Mara, which means bitter. I’m changing my name to reflect how I feel. God has not been good to me, and I’m angry at Him!”
Have you ever felt angry at God? Have you ever felt that He’s brought misfortune on you? If so, you are not alone. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another. And do you know what? God can handle that. When we are weary, or hurting, or even bitter, God already knows it. He is aware of our deepest thoughts before we even have them. And like the parent who holds the flailing, angry child, hushing him, lovingly calming the tantrum, God will hold us, even when we rant and accuse Him of not loving us. He loves us that much. He will never let us go, even when we lash out at Him.
We must remember, however, that God is good. He is only good. He doesn’t cause the bad things in this world. Sometimes, we bring bad things on ourselves. Other times, bad things happen simply because we live in a fallen, broken world. But He promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. And even in the midst of the worst circumstance, His goodness is there. He is there, loving us, calming us, comforting us.
Naomi claimed she went away full and came back empty. But isn’t she forgetting someone? She went away without a daughter, and she came back with the most devoted, loyal, loving daughter anyone could ask for. Yes, she had lost much, but she wasn’t empty. God hadn’t deserted her. He sent her someone who would stay with her, so she wouldn’t be alone. And just as He provided Naomi with something good and pure and wonderful, He does the same for each of us.
When our circumstances are a mess, when we are at those melting points in our lives, we often forget to stop, take deep breaths, and recognize God’s goodness. Our souls flail and kick and scream, and we have our temper tantrums at God, who must be responsible for the pain we feel. But all the while, God holds us. All the while, He loves us. And if we will calm down long enough to really look at our lives, we will realize that His goodness has never ceased.
Dear Father, Thank You for holding onto me, even when I feel angry at You. Thank You for Your constant goodness in my life.