Life Happens So Fast!
Everyone experiences this. You endure a really difficult season of life. Years pass, and a realization hits – you had no idea what hard was.
This was college for me. I thought I didn’t have time. I thought I didn’t have money. I thought I was under constant pressure. I thought I life was difficult.
Then I had a kid…and another…one more and a business. I added a house payment. We had a fourth child. We bought land. We were given a dog!
My perspective completely changed. I thought I was full, but I was empty. I thought I was empty, but I was full.
This is how Naomi’s story begins in the Book of Ruth. I love this story. Ruth is a favorite because it’s so raw and authentic. You can’t help but feel the pain, the fear, the hope, the joy, the anticipation that the main players of the story feel.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
Naomi is an Israelite woman who left Israel with her husband and two sons in the midst of a famine. They moved to Moab, and her boys marry Moabite women. While in Moab, all three men pass away. Hopeless and destitute, Naomi returns home with one daughter-in-law, Ruth. Naomi’s only hope is finding compassion from her people.
When Naomi returns home, she makes this statement to her friends and family,
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” -Ruth 1:20-21
Empty or Full?
Notice the line, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.”
I pause here because I have a guess. I don’t believe Naomi felt full when she left Israel year before. She left poor and starving. Sure, she had her family, but I believe she left feeling empty.
Her house, her things, her friends, her neighbors, her pride and her dreams one by one are all stripped away.
I’ve never had everything taken from me like that, but I’ve experienced some of her pain. In my pain, I didn’t think, “Aw, now I’m full.” Something happened to Naomi along the way of life.
Naomi’s perspective changes. She realizes she thought she was empty, but really she was full. She lost a list of things and people important to her, but she had family.
She never thought it possible years before, but somehow Naomi returned home with less than what she left with.
It rained, and now it poured.
I thought I was empty, but I was really full. Now I am truly empty. Can anything possibly make me full?
Thankfully, Naomi’s story doesn’t end there. This is just the very beginning of Naomi’s story. The Book of Ruth is all about redemption.
Naomi’s story is redeemed.
This weekend at church we celebrated communion. The theme for the day was “Remember.” Remember what Jesus did on the cross. Remember when you were empty, but thought you were full. Remember you are now made full.
Remember your story is redeemed.
No matter who you are or how you feel, fullness is available. It’s a short prayer away.
Your story can be redeemed.