psst—Look for the next #SheSharesTruth writing assignment at the bottom of this post!
Text: Ruth 1:19-22
He that empties us of the creature knows how to fill us with himself.
– Matthew Henry
Have you ever asked for prayer simply because you could not pray on your own? Have you ever uttered “pray for me” and meant “pray instead of me, because I just can’t do it”?
If prayer is a picture of believers lifting one another before the Lord, then there are times I have been full-on carried. Not just walked beside or agreed with, but picked up from the pit and held high before the Lord, my spiritual self limp and lifeless, in need of the life-breath from my Savior. It’s a metaphor that sounds melodramatic until you’re in the thick of it, too spent to sigh another “please” or “amen.”
This kind of spiritual and physical exhaustion is what I see when I picture Naomi walking into town that day, so affected by her suffering that she is hardly recognizable. The townswomen whispered to one another, shocked at the condition of the friend they used to know. Naomi quickly sets them straight. “It’s over for me,” she says. “Don’t call me Pleasant. Call me Bitter.”
Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she said, “and the Lord has brought me back empty” (v. 21). Yet, there was no fist-shaking at heaven. No renouncing her faith. Naomi acknowledges God without blaming Him. She believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.
Even still, Naomi could not see past her circumstances. The hand was dealt, the credits were rolling. Naomi believed with her head that her God was sovereign, but she was too soul-weary to believe with her heart. And so she calls it. Game over. Name changed.
You’ve heard the saying “don’t put a period where God puts a comma”? Naomi could not imagine being filled back up. She couldn’t picture her daughter-in-law remarried to an upstanding man who would welcome them both into his family. She couldn’t dream of holding a grandson in her arms. She couldn’t imagine the bitterness becoming beauty, but her sovereign God could.
Naomi named herself Bitter, but God names her—and us!—Blessed.
He names us Forgiven.
He names us Beloved.
He names us Redeemed.
These names hold true even when circumstances don’t, because ours is a God who is mighty over our affliction and blessing, our bitterness and beauty, our past and future. Ours is the Savior who rose from the grave, defeating sin and death and hopelessness forever.
Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.
Sisters, we need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.
We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.
#SheSharesTruth Writing Assignment for Friday, June 27—
Is there a discrepancy between the names by which Jesus calls you and the names you give yourself? Are there circumstances in your life to which you are giving undue power, power that rightfully—and in reality!—belongs to our sovereign God alone? Sister, who names you today—your God or your circumstances?
Share your heart and your story with the SheReadsTruth community in our #SheSharesTruth linkup next Friday, June 27.
New to #SheSharesTruth? Here’s what you need to know—
As writers, we’ve found that one of the best ways for us to learn is to communicate what we’re learning back to someone else. #SheSharesTruth is an opportunity for you in the SheReadsTruth community to do the same! Simply study the assigned scripture passage and questions, write a blog post/journal entry/scrap piece of paper of your thoughts, and share it with us on the linkup day! (And don’t worry if you don’t know what “link up” means—it’s super easy, and we’ll have instructions in the post.)
We look forward to hearing your stories!