From full to empty…

I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. – Ruth 1:21a

Naomi, wife of Elimelek and mother of two sons, had lived with her family in Moab during a great famine in Israel in the time of the judges. Her husband and sons all died leaving her alone with her two daughters-in-law. She and Ruth, one of the two, moved back to Judah when word of the famine was over. Naomi’s name meant “pleasant,” but she wanted to be called “Mara” or “bitter” because she blamed God for taking her men away from her.

So many times things happen to us in life that we have no control over like the death of a family member or loss of a job. When these do happen to us, it is our human nature to want to blame someone else for these tragedies. Often times God receives the blame for being the one who gives and the one who  takes away. This statement about God may be true, but I tend to think and believe that people are more to blame for the tragedies in their lives more so than God.

This is so true of American Christians. We’ve become so accustomed to living in a “land of plenty” or “milk and honey,” as the term is used in the Bible of Israel. The gluttonous, consumer mentality of the world has infiltrated and gnawed away faith and relying on God. The “modern” church is none other than the real church of Laodicea, where people think they are rich and blessed because of their material wealth but are really poor, blind, naked, and wretched.

Then, when something terrible happens to them, they immediately point the finger of blame at God and want to change their names from Naomi to Mara. Why? “Because God must have taken away all that I had. He let the enemy steal all my possessions. ” These are the excuses of those that don’t really trust in God for their provision. These are the words of so-called Christians who are really CINOs (Christians in Name Only). They wear a title but don’t subscribe to the tenets of the faith. They wear a cross around their necks but don’t suffer for the cause of that cross. It’s merely a piece of ornamentation rather than a symbol of the type of life they are to lead.

When tragedy strikes in your life, don’t go pointing the finger of blame at God like Naomi did but rather call out to him to sustain you and see you through to the end. Those that endure to the end are the ones who will be saved!

Father, God of all who love you and adore you, thank you for giving me all that I have. I have had plenty according to the world’s standard, and I have had nothing according to the same measure. However, I have all that I will ever need because I put my trust in you. Yes, the finer things of life make living easier, but such things cause a person to lose sight of who gave it to them in the first place — You! For without you, we have nothing. We are lost and dying in our sins without you. I give thanks to you for keeping me alive to do those things to which you’ve assigned me. May your will be done, not mine. You are the giver of life. You are our source. Glory be to your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.