Naomi’s eyes shimmered with sheer joy as she welcomed me into her warm, peaceful home. Before me I saw a woman still beautiful and gracious, truly delightful—despite her years of heart wrenching sorrows. I came to hear her story for I was one—in search of hope.
“Long ago I awakened one night to hear frightening words. ‘Pack your things, Naomi…we’re leaving.’ My husband, Elimelech, continued, ‘We’ll die in this place. We’ve got to leave…go to Moab. The famine is intense with no relief in sight. We’ll not tarry in Bethlehem another day.’
Cold stony fear gripped my heart and I pleaded, No, Bethlehem is our home…Yaweh’s house of bread. Why travel to a strange land that worships a strange god? Our God will provide. But Elimelech was emphatic. No… he knew better. And so we left the land God loved, taking our two boys with us.
Over the next ten years I suffered egregious loss watching every man I ever loved die. I was left with my two daughters in law… Moabite women, yet precious to me. I grieved for them too. But one day, the grapevine brought good news. Yaweh had blessed His people with bread. It was time to return…time…to go home.
As we approached the crossroads I implored my daughters in law to return to their mothers. I had nothing left to give them. I was a dried up woman. I was only going home to die. Orpah took my counsel, kissed my cheek, and turned back. But that Ruth… she’s a feisty one…clung to me and to Yaweh.
And so we traveled up the rugged terrain toward the beginning of the Jordan River. But upon entering Bethlehem, my heart cringed as I heard my name being called. ‘Naomi is that you? Can it be?’
Oh, don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, bitter, for the Almighty’s hand is turned against me. I left full but return empty. But they refused my request…and so did Yaweh.
My Ruth took bold steps to glean wheat for us…the widow’s provision. And due to my bold matchmaking skills, she became the bride of Boaz, our near kinsman—our redeemer. Dear Boaz…he never left Bethlehem…so valiant, noble, a man of influence and above all, a man of God.”
Nearby an infant whimpered. Naomi rose and picked him up looking devotedly into his dear face. She continued speaking to me with words of great magnitude
“You see, my friend, all the while the enemy mocked my nothingness—God still whispered.
Better, Naomi, I am making all things new, making all things better! I will bless you better than perfection, better than anything you could ask, hope or imagine!
Better than what you think could completely satisfy you
…better than seven.
In my sorrow, I could not hear those words. In my bitterness, hope had become a stranger. But my friends had prophesied, ‘Ruth is better to you than seven sons.’ And it’s true! My grandson is part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Oh, my friend, He has made my latter end far more joyous than the former days.
How much better for all generations to call me blessed because I flung my past into His keeping. How much better to birth a son, named Obed, who was fashioned in his mother’s womb to be a servant—as was Jesus. And how much better to give birth to a dream—to a child—whose name will be woven into the genealogy of the Christ child! Better—much better—better than seven.”
Her face radiated the glow of this truth, and I fell to my knees. Kneeling in the Lord’s sweet presence, and in the glow of a woman—who knew, I surrendered the pain, the agony and gave it to Jesus. He would turn my past for good and make my future better…better than what I think could completely satisfy me better because I am His child—better than seven!
Such a hope is for you, beloved. It reaches all the way to where you are because— you have been washed clean in the blood of Jesus Christ—because—you are a daughter of the Most High God! Take hold of hope, precious daughter, and seize the Redeemer of your life. He will amaze you—as He has amazed me!
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us.”
Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)