Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem.
As the women call out her name, Naomi, which means “pleasant”, Naomi suggests a new name for herself: Mara, which means “bitter”. Her reasoning is that she believes God – with all his power – has made her life very bitter.
It is interesting that for Naomi, as a Biblical character, the choice is not between belief in God and disbelief: God is a reality to be dealt with, not denied. However, her accusation is that God, rather than being a God of life and salvation, has instead intervened to damage her life, and leave her bitter.
So there is tension in this story: Naomi has heard that the LORD had come to the aid of his people – he is a God who intervenes to give life and to save: that’s the reason Naomi came back. But at the same time, due to her experience, Naomi has a very different view of how God has acted towards her own life.
Perhaps we find the same tension in our own hearts. We believe in God, we know he is a God of power, of life, of salvation. We believe that he is these things and acts this way in the world. But because of our experiences, we are struggling to see that God is all these things in our lives.
Whatever our current circumstances are, may God reveal himself as a God of power, life and salvation to us today.