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Mammoth Hot Springs / Yellowstong National Park
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Suffering Loss


    In the book of Ruth, there is a story of a Jewish woman by the name of Naomi (her name means "my delight" ... a name that should make someone feel accepted).  She fell in love with Elimelech, married, and had two sons.  Then came a famine in the land of Israel.  Because of the famine, her husband took her and her two sons to the foreign pagan country of  Moab to live.

    While they were there, her dear husband died. She lost the love of her youth.  She was left with her two sons. It is interesting to note the names of the two boys.  One was named "Mahlon" meaning "sick", and the other was named "Chilion" meaning "pining".  There probably developed a co-dependent relationship between Naomi and her two sickly young sons.  The two sons did live long enough to marry Moabite women, and then both of  Naomi's sons died.  Now, Naomi was left all alone except for her two daughters-in-law.  In her distress, she encouraged her two daughters-in-law to stay in the country of Moab and remarry while she went back to Israel to her kinsman. She must have thought that her relatives would somehow fill the loss in her life. At least she would be in the land where she grew up.  Her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, said that they would stay with her.  However, Naomi insisted that the two young women stay and remarry while she when back to Israel.  Orpah gave Naomi a kiss and reluctantly stayed in Moab, but Ruth said, "Don't ask me to leave you.  I will not leave you, but go where you go, live where you live, worship your God, and be buried where you are buried."

    Therefore, Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem and met Naomi's kinsman.  Everyone came out to greet Naomi and said, "Is this Naomi?"  However, Naomi said, "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara (meaning bitterness): for the Almighty had dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty:  why call me ye Namoi (my delight), seeing the LORD hath testifed again me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?" (Ruth 1:21b-22).

    Now maybe you can relate if have suffered loss.  Naomi suffered having to move and to leave all her kinsman because of a famine.  She suffered the loss of the love of her life, her husband and then suffered the loss of the next most important thing, her two sons. Next, one of her daughters-in-law (Orpah) stayed behind (even though Naomi insisted on her doing so).  She felt even that God had dealt unfairly with her.  She felt empty.  She felt that God was against her and had afflicted her.

    So maybe you can relate.  Right?

    Was her life a total loss as she felt it was?  Was God really against her?  Was God really working good in the picture? What was the big picture?

1. She had the experience of knowing the love of a caring husband for many years.
2. She had the experience of raising two sons.
3. The famine brought her to the land of Moab, but God saved her from starving to death.
4. She had the delightful experience of seeing her two sons marry.
5. Her influence upon her daughters-in-law was great.  Initially, both were willing to leave their own country and go to Bethlehem with their mother-in-law.
6. Her influence upon Ruth was so great that she became determined to follow her no matter what and even to worship her God, (Yahweh).  God even used Ruth to provide food for her in Bethlehem.
7. She then became a counselor to Ruth (the young Moabite woman) which led Boaz to marry Ruth.
8. Ruth and Boaz had a son by the name of Obed.
9. Obed had a son by the name of Jesse.
10 Jesse had a son by the name of David who became the king of Israel.
11. David wrote the book of the Psalms and was in the lineage of Jesus.
12. Now we have the God inspired book of Ruth as a part of Scripture and the story of Naomi in it.
    If the famine had not come and if there had not been the loss of Naomi's husband and two sons, the rest of the story would not have happened. Our Bible would be rather short.  Jesus would not have been born and there would be no salvation today through Him.

    But what about Naomi's loss?  How did God deal with that?

    He gave her a faithful daughter-in-law (Ruth) to counsel. Then ultimately God gave her a grandson to love and care for.

    You should understand that you can not always see the big picture.  However, you can trust that God is in it.  Furthermore, you can trust that God is for you.   Jeremiah recorded the Word of God:  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11).    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

    Therefore, since God is working in the big picture and is for you, you should begin to look beyond yourself to see what God has set before you and get in on what God is doing.  Your life is not a total loss!  God has or will set someone before you to whom you can minister by His grace.  God did this with Naomi, He did it with Job (Job 42:10), he did it with Elijah (I Kings 19:13-17), and He will do it with you.


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