Whose fault is it that Naomi’s life is so bitter? It would be easy to blame Naomi or her husband. Their move to the godless land of Moab, where they let their sons marry Moabite women (who had a reputation for leading Israelites astray – see Numbers 25), might make us think they deserve their many troubles.

But Naomi says several times that God, who’s the Almighty One who does as he wants, is responsible—and the Bible says nothing to suggest otherwise. There’s encouragement in this for us when our lives turn sad. It’s okay to pin the responsibility on God. He can handle it. And the good thing about it is that if God brought on the sad times, he also can bring happy ones.

Even though she’s bitter, Naomi does not give up on God. There’s evidence that he’s working for her good. Food is growing again in Bethlehem. She has a family member who’ll stay with her. And most importantly, God is working faith in Naomi and especially in Ruth.

Ruth’s faith is remarkable and forceful. She knows her prospects for a happy life will be dim in Bethlehem, but she isn’t angling for what God might give her. She’s putting all her hope in him even though it might not bring immediate blessings. She’s committed to such an extent that, if God turns out not to be worthy of her faith, she’s clearly making the biggest blunder of her life.

Our faith must be the same. Jesus calls us to leave everything to follow him even it might mean hard times. We do it because we know life is better with him even when we can’t see right now how that might be—even when we know we might not see it until heaven.

Dark, bitter times happen to God’s people. God’s darkest plan of all happened to Jesus—who didn’t deserve it a bit. But it was a good plan; a loving plan. Jesus died to save us all. Knowing this is how God’s plans work, we trust his love even in the dark times.

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