Week 10: Confessions of a Bitter Widow

Naomi (Ruth 1-4)

God,

I don’t even know why I bother praying right now. I know you made me, you saved me, but I am questioning if you really love me.

I don’t understand why Elimelek had to die. He was the love of my life. Sure, he wasn’t perfect. In fact, he often got on my last nerve and drove me crazy. But he was my other half. We walked through so much together. After the funeral, everyone was so kind at first, bringing me gifts and offering kind words. But that’s long over now.

Even after our two sons died, it was like my heart was already broken and numb to the pain. As I watched their two sweet wives grieve, it was almost as if I was grateful that someone else was hurting as much as I was. Of course, I am heartbroken losing my two beautiful boys, but I was so consumed by grief that I couldn’t even process the loss of my sons.

Now that I have returned home, it is all settling in that this still isn’t fixing even though I am back with my people. I kept telling myself, “If I could just get back to Judah, back where we are from, then everything would be alright.” I had to put on a brave face since Ruth insisted on coming with me. I am glad she did, or I may have just given up and taken my life on the journey home. Taking care of her kept my mind sane.

But coming home fixed nothing. It’s nothing like it was before, and I am sure not the same woman. I won’t even let them call me Naomi. I am Mara now because you have made my life very bitter.

When I left, we had so much hope, young family off on an adventure. I trusted you, Lord. I was full. And now, you have brought me back empty. You have caused misfortune on me, and this is all your fault. How could you do this to me?

A Bitter Widow

My daughter Naomi,

You do not need to hide your emotions or pretend that you are not brokenhearted. I am here. I am listening. I love that you talk to me, even in your bitterness. Your loyalty is what I have always loved about you.

Cast all your cares on me, even if it seems to be all my fault.

It is not in my plan for wives to lose their husbands or children. Your daughters-in-law should not know that kind of pain and suffering.

In my kingdom, there is no death, mourning, crying, and pain. I will wipe every tear from your eyes. I am close to the brokenhearted, and I will heal up your injured heart. I am using you as part of my brand story. What others don’t want, I use. I love you, and I will be the lover of your soul, the strength of your heart, and all that you need.

Your Heavenly Father

(Psalm 147:3 Psalm 34:18, Rev 21:4)

1) If you are in the midst of grief, you are not alone. How has God walked through a time of loss or grief with you? What do you need the most in a time of grief?

2) It is never a sin to grieve. In fact, it is a sin NOT to grieve a loss because it can get you “stuck” and unable to move forward in your life. Is there any area you need to allow yourself or another person to grieve through a loss?

To finish the story of Naomi read Ruth 1-4. The second chapter is provided below.

Ruth 2 (NIV)

Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek. Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered. Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field, and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some leftover. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had leftover after she had eaten enough.

Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said. “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.'” Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.