Thursday, August 8
Today's reading: Ruth 1:19-22
Naomi and Ruth's arrival in Bethlehem doesn't go unnoticed. In fact, verse 19 says the "whole town was stirred" when they arrived. I imagine there was an element of surprise to see Naomi, but I also get a sense that the women of Bethlehem who were familiar with Naomi were a little shocked at her physical appearance. Grief, stress and worry can affect the way we look, and they certainly impact our emotional state. It's no wonder the women say, “Is this Naomi?" because she probably looked worn, even haggard.
Naomi is not in the best place emotionally or spiritually when she arrives in Bethlehem. She's unhappy and depressed about her circumstances, and so her reply to these old acquaintances is terse. But as I thought about what she was experiencing, I realized that although at this point Naomi wasn't particularly pleasant, she was at least honest and straightforward with this group of women. Instead of trying to save face by downplaying or sugarcoating reality, she speaks openly from her broken and distressed heart. Naomi's candid response provides the women with an accurate picture of what's going on in her life and, in turn, lets her old friends and acquaintances know that she is in need of their support and encouragement.
Do you ever feel like you need to put on a "happy face" with Christian friends or when you walk through the doors of your church? Why or why not? When you're distressed and experiencing difficulties, is it your practice to have open and honest dialogue with God? If not, what's holding you back? Tami
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