Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Naomi's Story

Dear Reader,
Our role model today is Naomi, one of the main characters in the Bible's book of Ruth.
The following is a bit from the manuscript of a book I'm writing about Ruth and Naomi. Maybe I'll post more of it as we go along so you won't be left wondering what happens. Today's piece, though, shows how well God knows our situation and pain. He's provided examples like Naomi for us to follow and work through our grief. Read Ruth 1 for a background.
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"Three little words in Ruth 1:3 and 1:5 sum up what happened to Naomi: “She was left.” Their clinical starkness startled me with the shock, despair and helplessness she must have felt. Three little words shouldn’t have been the end result of her investment of nurture and love for her husband and sons.

Worse yet, Naomi was left in a foreign country. Today, Moab would be in the country of Jordan, approximately fifty miles from Bethlehem, about an hour-long drive by car. But in Naomi’s time, when people had to walk, it was a four or five-day journey. Plus, she couldn't write, phone or e-mail the people back home. Naomi was virtually cut off from friends and family. She had left her house, her mother, her friends, neighbors and everything familiar back in Bethlehem. She followed her husband to a foreign place she had probably never even seen before— and then she was left.

Scripture simply listed her losses:
1) Elimelech died.
2) Her sons married foreign women.
3) Her sons died.

Her sons' deaths were a sweeping and final devastation that stripped her purpose for her daily life and hope for her future. Her chances of survival were bleak. The original Hebrew manuscripts deleted her name and referred to her as only the woman. Naomi’s life was blown apart.

I could identify with Naomi. My life as I knew it would never be the same. I stood by myself and looked at the shattered bits and pieces. Naomi was left, and so, too, was I. Can you relate? I was left to raise our children and make important decisions alone. I was left without the comfort, security and daily routine of marriage to the man I loved. I was left to face a future I didn't want. I understood why the original Hebrew took out her name and just called her “the woman.” I felt like half a person and secretly pondered my value and purpose.

Looking at Naomi was like looking at a mirror. The woman looking back at me was empty and abandoned. She was left, and so was I. In my identity with her, Scripture illuminated my losses in sheer, alarming pain. In losing my husband I lost my best friend, my lover, my spiritual leader, my children's father, my comfort, security and routine. But if I hadn't listed my losses, I never would have known that the pain was cutting deep places for joy . . . "
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Dear Reader, Have additional losses compounded in your life due to your husbands death? When you're ready, begin to list them and know that the pain is cutting deep places for joy. Begin to talk about these losses with friends, a grief support group, a counsellor or pastor; or list your losses in prayer or journaling, or even emailing comments or prayer requests to this blog. Reaching out will begin to bring some of God's people and God's help into your life. With God, good things can still happen.
Ferree

3 comments:

  1. Soon after my husband passed away, I read the book of Ruth and found great comfort in it. Thank you for reminding me of its truths today.

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  2. Good thoughts. I will re-read Ruth tonight. Thanks for the reminder of a precious book.

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  3. Scripture is always sufficient and I'm so grateful God made an entire book of the Bible about widows. Let us know what you discover! Also, on Joannah's blog, (just click on her name for the link), read the April 6 post, "The Crying List," for more about listing your losses. She got it from Griefshare.org which is a wonderful resource.

    ReplyDelete

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