8 Naomi said to them, “Each of you go back to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you as you have shown to the dead and to me. 9 May the Lord grant each of you rest in the house of a new husband.” She kissed them, and they wept loudly. 10 They said to her, “We insist on returning with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi replied, “Return home, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Am I able to have any more sons who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters. Go on, for I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me to have a husband tonight and to bear sons, 13 would you be willing to wait for them to grow up? Would you restrain yourselves from remarrying? No, my daughters, my life is much too bitter for you to share, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me.”
It’s no secret that the last year brought us a tremendous amount of loss. We grieved the loss of loved ones, jobs, travel, traditional schooling, visits with friends and family, and so much more. Grief isn’t something we can prepare for. And while there are resources to help us cope with loss, the process looks different for everyone.
We read in this passage that after her husband and sons died, Naomi insisted that her daughters-in-law go back home. Maybe Naomi truly thought it was best for them to go back to their families. Or maybe their presence reminded her of the loss she had experienced. Either way, she tried to push away the only family she had left.
Have you ever pushed people away because of the heaviness of grief? The painful emotions can feel so overwhelming that you don’t want to impose them on someone else. And you may not want them to see you in a vulnerable state. Even though we all experience grief at one time or another, the feeling of loneliness can be paralyzing. So what is our hope in the midst of our pain?
In Matthew 5:4, Jesus says there is a promise to those overcome with grief. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Although grief may feel like we are suffering alone, comfort is on its way. In this story, we read that Ruth didn’t leave Naomi’s side. Naomi may not have realized at first, but Ruth would become a comfort to her. But Naomi wasn’t the only one grieving. Ruth was also mourning the death of her husband. She not only found comfort in Naomi, but also in the one true God. Could this promise of comfort also be for us?
When Jesus was preparing for the cross, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to us as a comforter who would be with us forever. What an incredible gift! Jesus suffered alone so we never have to be alone. As you count your losses in the last month, year, or in your entire life, may you cling to this promise of comfort.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What have you lost in the last year that you still need to grieve?
- Who can you surround yourself with as you process through your grief?
- How will you remind yourself of the promise of comfort?
Pray for God to use mission journeys this year to change the spiritual “lenses” through which participants from our church family see the world. Pray for people who go on teams to come back with new awareness and skills to walk intimately with Him and make Christ known.