~Ruth 1:20~ “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life bitter.” Naomi (NIV)
Today our hearts go out to moms whose countenance is cast down with bitter anguish -- because their sons and daughters have succumbed to the devastations of addiction. We know that the casualty count of this crisis among youth is alarming. But who is measuring the agony felt by the mothers? How can their joy be restored? Who can uplift their faces with renewed hope?
Consider Naomi (in the Book of Ruth) who also experienced a mother’s grief. Naomi lamented bitterly as she reflected on her losses. “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty,” (Ruth 1:21) In her day, her nation’s condition was much like ours: moral and political chaos, no strong leadership, people harassed and invaded, spiritual decline. Such an environment strains families and tears them apart. Youth are troubled, confused, and at risk. Often it’s the mothers who feel the anguish most deeply. “ … a foolish son brings grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
For Naomi things got much worse. Famine forced her family to seek refuge in a foreign land. That’s where she lost her two sons and her husband. We don’t know why. Nevertheless the grief was intense for Naomi. She returned to her homeland with nothing that she once possessed. The blessings of family had vanished – with no descendents to bring her honour. Naomi felt the misfortune so intensely that she wanted her name to be changed. Call me Bitter, she lamented. This downcast mother was desperately in need of a spiritual facelift - from the Almighty Himself.
Today’s moms, who lament over offspring afflicted by addiction and related troubles, may be unable to imagine any uplift down the road. Perhaps they might find encouragement in Naomi.
For Naomi, the “facelift” came in her old age, when her motherly joy was restored through a grandson born to her daughter-in-law, Ruth. That made Naomi smile again. The other woman felt happy for her. With heartfelt joy, they proclaimed, “Praise be to the Lord who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.( …) He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. ” (Ruth 4:14,15)
Naomi got the facelift she needed – through God’s hand on her family. I encourage you to read the Book of Ruth through Naomi’s eyes. It seems to be presented from her perspective – especially the last chapter which describes her glorious upturn. Naomi sets her grandson on her lap, like her own child. As you sense Naomi’s joy, it will surely overflow to you. You might even agree that the Book of Ruth is, in essence, an account of the ultimate facelift for moms.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please uplift today’s despairing moms with the hope of a future facelift performed through Your might. Help these mothers envision a time when joy glows on their faces, the outcome of your merciful redemptive grace on their offspring. Amen