When it comes to valuable life-lessons, the book of Ruth is a best seller. If you have not read this book of the Bible, I recommend you do. It’s a short one.
The first verse is of Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi. She and her husband and two sons left Bethlehem due to a famine and went to another land to prosper. But her husband died, and then her two sons got married and died as well. Things were going well, but turned out very bad. She and Ruth returned to Bethlehem to try to survive.
But she told them, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara [Naomi means “pleasant,” Mara means “bitter”], for Almighty God has dealt me bitter blows.”
But read the rest of the book—Ruth needed to find a field to get food during the harvest. She unknowingly picked a field to work which belonged to a wealthy man, Boaz, who happened to be a relative of Naomi. Boaz befriended Ruth and then married her after negotiations with another relative who had first rights to Ruth. Ruth and Boaz had a son, Obed, who was the father of Jesse and grandfather of King David—ultimately leading to Jesus Christ! Talk about a rags-to-riches story!
What does all this mean? Things may be bitter today, and the blessings we once had may be gone, but the Lord still loves us more than ever. The bitterness we experience may be his way of helping us learn a lesson of patience, humility, or the need to trust.
“Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles. If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground. Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away. But blessings are only signs of God’s love. The real blessing, of course, is the love itself. Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. Churches are filled with widows who can explain this to you. We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings. We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.”
So today, we thank the Lord for where we are today and ask Him to allow us to learn the lessons we need to learn and thank Him for where He will put us tomorrow.