Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book 2 - Day 20 Naomi

            The passing of a loved one reminds us all life has an end.  For Christians, that end should be one of hope, joy and peace knowing we are children of the Most High, have a place prepared for us in Heaven and will be met by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  For those of us left behind, the hurt, pain and loneliness are real.  In the book of Ruth, a woman is so overwhelmed with grief, she professes profusely to call her by her own misery or bitterness, Mara.  Naomi had lost her husband and two sons (Ruth 1:1-5).  To her daughter-in-law Ruth who refuses to leave her side she cries, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life bitter.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20-21).
            Naomi had lost all hope (Ruth 1:12).  She assumed her life was over and there was nothing more to it but loneliness, bitterness and affliction.  Although having experienced much sadness and suffering, the Lord has a plan for Naomi.  See, it was through her marriage vow to Elimelech in which she inherited a relative named Boaz for which Ruth was destined for.  Although Ruth had lost a husband and Naomi a son, both were about to gain from the loss. 
            God used a Moab woman, Ruth, in the linage of his son Jesus Christ, for Ruth is the great grandmother of King David.  God’s plan is interesting and never seems to follow our time lines.  Naomi did have hope in God, but could not see it for her clouded, shrouded vision. “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife.  The he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  The women said to Naomi, ‘Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.  May be become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.  For your daughter-in-law who loved you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.’” (Ruth 4:13-15). Christians have a kinsman-redeemer as well, Jesus Christ.
            Our hope as Christians is found in the Lord.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13). “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14). “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5). “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.” (Job 14:7-9). “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). Are we getting the picture?  For these scriptures are just a small portion of the grace bestowed on all who believe and hope in Jesus Christ.
            Woman, do not think your life is over at the loss of a spouse.  There will be a season of healing, but then a season of renewing.  I like the scripture in Job 14, “For there is hope for a tree if it be cut down.” It may seem your life is over, but there is hope. Once the healing begins, prayer on bended knees and tears are wiped away by the gentle hand of Christ, “Thought its root grows old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.” Oh beautiful the Words of comfort and security knowing God has a plan no matter the season in life.  The water, this “living water” provided by Jesus Christ gives us hope, revival and a new life! Lay beside the one who makes the quiet waters and green pastures.  Lay beside the one who can give you Manna from Heaven at just the right time and restore your soul (Psalm 23).
            Come, let us pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God, drink from the Living Water and restore your soul;

            My loss has broken my heart.  The years I have spent with ______________ replay through my mind and I need you.  I know we need to spend time together for the healing to begin.  So, I will follow the shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I know I will not want.  I know you will lie next to me beside quiet water, filling my spirit with Living Water which bubbles forth to never thirst again (Psalm 23:2 , John 4:13). I will follow you into green pastures where I can lie down and eat the supplied nourishment for my soul (Psalm 23:2, Mark 6:31).
            I am thankful for the hope in the next season of life.  I know you have plans for me to succeed and not fail (Jeremiah 29:11). But when my soul is downcast and saddened, help me to lift my hands in praise for there my hope will remain (Psalm 43:5). For this faith I have is being sure of what I can hope for and certain of what I can not see now (Hebrews 11:1). 
            I do know when I am tempted to remain in the pit of sorrow, depression or pity you will lift me out of the mud and the mire, helping me to set my feet on solid ground giving me a firm place to stand.  Lord, you will put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to you.  I pray many see my joy and put their trust in you (Psalm 40:1-3). I praise you for loving me, I praise you for your goodness and knowing ______________ has seen you face to face.  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.

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