In Grief And Sorrow We Lose Perspective

In grief and sorrow we lose sight of the fact that every trial of the believer has purpose.

The context:
There was a famine in the land of Israel, so a man and his wife Naomi, along with their two sons, went to a neighboring country to wait out the famine. But during the ten years there, Naomi’s husband died, and if that weren’t enough, her two sons died too. Bereft and heartbroken, Naomi took her daughter-in-law Ruth and they returned to Naomi’s land, the land of Bethlehem in Judea.

When they arrived, the people were delighted to see her again! They gathered around her and rejoiced. But she stopped them:

“But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara,
for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full,
and the Lord has brought me home again empty.'”
Ruth 1:20-21

Naomi means “pleasant,” and Mara means “bitter.”

Tragedy had struck the life of this faithful Jewish woman. She went out with a husband and two sons, and she returns a widow heartbroken over the loss of her husband and her children. She was inconsolable and she blamed God.

Have you been grievously hurt? Has there been tragedy in your life? Have you lost someone you dearly loved? Are you blaming God for your pain?

What Naomi did not know was that this story was going to change the course of history, because her daughter-in-law Ruth was going to marry a relative of Naomi’s and have a son, and this son was going to be the great grandfather of King David, the one through whom the Messiah would come, he who was promised since the earliest passages in the Bible. Just imagine her joy if she could have known that, if she could have known that her story had purpose, that she had to bring back with her a gentile daughter-in-law who would be the foreshadow of the gentile church, and that it was going to be one of the greatest stories in all of the Bible.

Surrender to God when you’re going through a bitter time. All the stories that make up our lives have purpose. And we are promised in Romans chapter 8 that God is working it all together for a desired end:

“And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are the called
according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

All things.

In the book of Job, we see a faithful man who lost everything, every single thing he had, including his seven sons and three daughters. The passage counts out for us all that he lost, so many sheep, so many camels, so many oxen, so many donkeys and so many children. Like Naomi, Job was faithful and could hardly believe God would do this to him. He wept and reasoned, and despaired, and went down into depression.

Little did Job know that his was going to be another of the greatest stories in the Bible, that would teach believers throughout the ages many truths about God, truths which would go down in history to encourage others who suffer. In the end, God restored to Job DOUBLE what he had lost, double the number of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. Only when it came to his children, God did not restore to him double. He had lost seven sons and three daughters, but God only restored to him seven more sons and three more daughters. Why didn’t God restore to him double the number of children that he lost, as he did with everything else? The answer is that he did not permanently lose his original sons and daughters, they were in heaven waiting for him. So in the end he actually did have double the number he started out with. The agenda of Satan to destroy Job actually brought about huge double blessings, both in this life and in the life to come.

Joseph is another person in the Bible who suffered greatly. He endured hatred from his brothers, they threw him in a well and left him for dead, he ends up in an Egyptian prison for something he did not do, but at the end …he became the second highest official in all the land of Egypt and head over the storehouses of grain. Eventually his brothers had to go to Egypt for food when there was a famine in Israel. Joseph ends up saying:

“But as for you, you meant evil against me,
but God meant it for good…”
Genesis 50:20

In so many of the stories of our lives, we are like Naomi, we are like Job, we are like Joseph and SO many others – tragedy and heartbreak happens to every believer. But if only we knew the end of the story, we would not despair, we would not call ourselves “bitter” and blame God for our grief and sorrow. We would stand in the faith and not only wait for the glorious end of the story, but we would jump up and down in excitement, because the glory of the end of the story far outweighs the grief of the beginning.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18

That is a promise. Hang in there! The story is not over with yet. There will be a glorious ending if only you will believe it and wait patiently. For how long? For as long as it takes. Just know this: God is FAITHFUL!

 

 

More on suffering

 

 

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