“Is it really Naomi?” the women asked.  “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, *[ Naomi means “pleasant”; Mara means “bitter.”] for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.  I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer.” –Ruth 1:19-21c (NLT)
As I read Naomi’s story this morning, an encouragement stood out to me that seemed to relate to what we are facing in light of the Coronavirus. Naomi had indeed experienced a season of great hardship and tragedy, arguably more than any of us have experienced in regards to this pandemic.
In the course of about 10 years, she had left her homeland, lost her husband, and then lost her only two children. And now she was headed home heart-broken and empty-handed, except for one loyal daughter-in-law.
The point that caught my attention the most was that Naomi seemed to have been a little short-sighted about the good that God was going to bring about in her life still, even in spite of all the brokenness and hardship she had endured.
I know we’ve probably all been spurred on at some point during this COVID-19 trial to take stock of the good that’s come out of this so far. And I think that’s a great thing to continue to do. But I think even more importantly, Naomi’s example reminded me that we need to trust God for the good he promises to do (see Romans 8:28) THAT WE HAVE YET TO SEE!
Roughly two years after Naomi returned to her homeland and had thrown God “under the bus”, we read what God brought about in Ruth 4:14-16 (NLT):
The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”  Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him.
Naomi became a grandmother and basically was able to raise this child like her own. This boy went on to become the grandfather of King David and eventually caused her family to be included in the physical lineage of Jesus Christ. Talk about God’s ability to “work all things together for good!”
For Naomi it was two years before she saw a glimpse of what God was ultimately going to bring about. For Joseph, you might remember that it was 13 years in slavery and then in prison (see Genesis 37-50) before He saw the good that God was bringing about for him.
How long will it be before you and I will see some of the greater good that God will use this tragedy to bring about in our lives?
Again the point to me and to all of us, is to not only be thankful for the good that we can see now, but also to trust God for the good that we have yet to see, here on Earth and an ultimately in Heaven, too!
Let’s keep trusting God together through the homestretch!