Call Me “Mara”
“…the Almighty has afflicted me.” Ruth 1:21
I’ve experienced grief to the point where I have had no more tears to cry. However, grief from my own choices had an intensity and tang all its own.
The whole first chapter of the book of Ruth deals with the consequences of bad choices. At the end of the chapter, Naomi and Ruth come home to Bethlehem. Naomi beats her friends to the punch. In verses 20 and 21, she says, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
Have you been there? I have. It’s so much easier to quickly bring up our own sins and announce the verdict when we are in the presence of people who might judge us. These same people may have warned Naomi against going off to Moab during the famine. She knows she sinned greatly against God and that the reaping changed her drastically. Instead of the name Naomi, which means “my delight,” she commands the women to call her “Mara.” Mara means bitter. This is not just any old bitter, either. This bitterness, in Hebrew, is of the grief variety. It is the kind that goes along with tears that pour until there are no more. Her body must have shook until her bones felt like they would break.
So Naomi returns home. What she didn’t understand at the time was that God had already put into motion her redemption. When she turned around and changed her path, which is what repentance means, God put the right people in place to carry out His merciful, loving will. And what Naomi didn’t realize was that it is only when we are empty of ourselves that God can fill us. He will not share our heart with another. God was ready to show Naomi that while she may feel bitter, she was still His delight.
I give you everything I have, even my mistakes. Please make something beautiful out of my life in a way only you can.
In Jesus Name