Friday, March 11, 2011

Overcoming the Urge to Grow Bitter

And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?   -Ruth 1:20, 21 (KJV) 

The Word of God gives the account of two women who had seen difficult days.  Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, both widows, were contemplating going different directions, but so devoted was Ruth to her mother-in-law she would not part company with her.  Just before their intended separation, Naomi stated that she would from then on be called Mara, which is the Hebrew word for “bitter.”  She felt under such affliction she no longer believed the blessings of God could again reside in her life.  However, because of Ruth’s faithfulness and God’s leading, both women again found the strength to move forward toward God’s will.  What followed was new life and new blessings from the Lord. 

Have you ever been in the place where you believed the Lord had turned away from you?  Difficulties, problems, crises, and misfortunes can afflict us to the point where we actually begin to believe the Lord no longer cares about us.  Anytime we come to such a dark and lonely place the result will be bitterness.  This condition is notorious for robbing us of the joy, strength, love, and peace the Lord intends for us to experience.  Nowhere in God’s Word will we find life will be easy and trouble free.  However, the Lord has promised He will be with us always, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He will continually guide us with His Spirit.  Keep moving forward in faith and we find strength.  Give up and the result will be bitterness and sorrow. 

How we long for peace in the midst of life’s struggles.  The Lord has provided peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Life is difficult; Jesus offers help.  Life is filled with trouble; Jesus offers hope.  Life is unfair; Jesus provides stability and proper perspective.  Life is uncertain; Jesus offers the assurance of His care and provision.  Life can leave us filled with questions; the Lord has answers.  Let us cease from trying to live in our own strength and power and instead seek the Lord.  As the Bible says, “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (II Chronicles 32:8).   

The Lord is with us –  always and every day.  Resist the urge to give into bitterness, but instead claim the peace Jesus Christ offers.  There is hope in the Lord.  Claim the blessed hope today and walk forward in peace, joy, and victory. 

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