by Rev Lai Kai Ming
Readings: Ruth 1; Psalm 109:17-32
READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
Why do we always blame God for our trials and troubles? Why was Naomi so sure that it was God who took away all that she ever loved? The biblical author did not hint at any wrongdoing by Naomi. Her suffering did not result from any exposed sin, and her lament seemed justified. In fact, as the story unfolded, Naomi ultimately received the blessings of having Israel’s Redeemer as her descendant.
For me, to attribute all things to God is not blasphemy, but an acknowledgement of His sovereignty. While God might not have struck Naomi’s loved ones dead, He did not prevent their untimely demise (though He had the power to). So in a strange way, Naomi’s bitter words about God’s bitter actions were a declaration of faith. She did not suppress her disappointment and even anger with God, but spoke of it as one who expected better from Yahweh. Like Job did. Like the lamenting psalmists did. Yes, even in my most difficult trials, I will not pretend that God is absent – but proclaim that He is sovereign.
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us!
(Song by Michael W. Smith)