Devotional – Pleasant or Bitter?

Naomi & Ruth with Obed

In the book of Ruth, Ruth’s mother-in-law (Naomi) struggles with the course of her life.  Married with 2 sons, Naomi, left her native land due to famine to reside in Moab.  There her 2 sons married.  One son married a Moabite woman named Ruth.  During this time in Moab, Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died.  She returned to her native land with her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

When she was greeted upon her return by her neighbors with the question, “Is this Naomi?”  Her response is interesting and demonstrates what she feels about her life and her choices.

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
(Ruth 1:20-21 ESV)
Naomi or Mara — what is her name?  Look at the meaning of those names.  Naomi means “pleasant.”  Mara means “bitter.”  Naomi is saying that her name is a misnomer.  She thinks that she has not been dealt pleasantly by the Lord, but instead He has dealt bitterly with her.  She had left her town full.  She returned empty.
I know how she feels.  At times I question moves I have made and wonder if I made the right decisions.  By right I mean that it was the direction God wanted me to move.
Yet Naomi did not know the plans which God had for her.  Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, would wed a relative of Naomi’s and produce a child named Obed or as the women of the village said, “A son has been born to Naomi.”  What is worth noting is that Obed was the grandfather of King David and as such in the direct genealogical line of Jesus.  The women also declared that this child should be a restorer of her life and a nourisher of her old age.
So Naomi who became Mara became Naomi again.  God was at work in her move back home.  From her and her daughter-in-law would come the Messiah.
Perhaps God is waiting to reveal the Messiah in your life regardless of the path you have trod.  I pray it be so in my life as well as yours.