October 08, 2011

Troubles and Blessings

Ruth 1

Naomi said … “Go back, each of you … May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness …”
Ruth 1:8


Because of a famine, Naomi left home with her husband and two sons in search of food and a better future. But then Naomi’s husband died. Her two sons married, but they also died.

When the famine ended back home in Israel, Naomi returned, but she told people not to call her Naomi anymore. “Call me Mara,” she said—which means “bitter.”

Yet in the midst of her troubles, Naomi still found the faith to wrestle with God and ask him to bless her daughters-in-law.

Can a person in trouble still be a blessing to others? Absolutely. I have seen people in times of trouble deepen their faith by aiming to continue to help others. I have seen people’s faith strengthened when they moved from focusing on their own concerns to giving of themselves to others, for Jesus’ sake.

Today you may find yourself questioning God and even wrestling with him. In this kind of struggle, I invite you to hear Naomi’s trust in God and her blessing of others. She knew that her daughters-in-law had suffered as well. She did not add to their suffering. In the midst of a tearful separation, she prayed for them. Naomi was on a journey of faith—one in which her tears accompanied her walk with God.

Dear God, today some of us are really struggling. May we hear from you even through our tears. Give us eyes to see others and to bless them even as we struggle. And please grant us peace. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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