When Naomi returned to her hometown of Bethlehem, the women of that small town hardly recognized her in such a downtrodden and depressed state. They asked one another, “Is this really Naomi?”
Naomi, whose name in Hebrew means, “pleasant,” had left Bethlehem years ago during a time of famine to go with her husband and her sons to live in the land of Moab. However, Moab became the place where she buried her husband and both of her sons. Now she was returning to Bethlehem with only the widow of one of her sons, a woman named Ruth. She told the women that had trouble recognizing her, “Don’t call me Naomi anymore. Call me Mara (which means “bitter”), because the Lord has dealt bitterly with me. For I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.”
We tend to think in extremes when we are discouraged or depressed. We exaggerate the memory of a happier time in our former condition and overstate the troubles in our current one. Grief and loss easily turn into bitterness. Yet, as Naomi would soon learn, she had not returned as empty as she thought. For Ruth would soon show herself to be worth “seven sons” (Ruth 4:15). And Naomi would spend her later years in fullness and joy.
Are you empty or bitter today? Give it to the Lord in prayer. Who knows what wonderful blessings He holds in store for you tomorrow!