Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Mara Moments

We have a beloved daughter-in-law who is our Ruth! When I wake in the morning my first words are thanks to our Father who nudged our son into choosing this beautiful lady to be his life partner, and to be the mother of their grand issues. I cannot thank them both enough for all they do for us every day. We are so, so blessed! When I talk with friends about their children, it saddens me to hear of how disrespectful and uncaring their children are. It also reminds me of how fortunate we are to have sons who have all married ladies who are Ruths. Three of our sons are married and none are divorced, which is very unusual today. Thank you, my dear sons!

The book of Ruth is one of my favorites. It contains many lessons for us ladies that we would do well to heed today. One of the lessons is about Naomi. This dear lady certainly had her problems. She lost her husband and then her two sons which, she felt, gave her griping rights: "Call me Mara, for the Almighty hath dealt bitterly with me."

We all have Mara Moments, as I call them, times when we feel life has been unfair and cruel. "[T]he LORD'S hand has gone out against me" (Ruth 1:13b). Job said the same thing. We all say it! God is out to get us. But - let's do an AA here (Attitude Adjustment). God was not finished with Naomi, or Mara, as she preferred to be called. And God is not finished with us (as one writer calls it, God's Unfinished Providence). If we can view our Mara Moments as just that, this will lighten the load of heaviness that we feel.

The lesson here is to view these moments, not as personal attacks from God, but as the general flow of life. "Naomi began to err when she ceased to believe in the wisdom and benignity of all those dark events, when she looked upon them, not as expressive of paternal discipline, but of Divine indifference and desertion, when they appeared to her distressed soul as the arrows of judgment rather than the strokes of love..." (Thompson). There it is! If we can accept what happens to us as strokes of love instead of strikes of hatred, then we can turn our sorrows into joy.

Naomi's life eventually became one of delight. She was good to her daughters-in-law. She respected their decisions and wanted what was best for them. Ruth, in turn, became her very life and gave her a grandson. Ten years before she saw things much differently. Time indeed heals. In our age of instant cures and instant gratification, please remember God's timing.

Perhaps we could see our Mara Moments as storms. C.H. Spurgeon, one of my favorite authors, gives us the difference between winter and summer storms: "How different are summer storms from winter ones! In winter they rush over the earth with their violence; and if any poor remnants of foliage or flowers have lingered behind, these are swept along at one gust. Nothing is left but desolation; and long after the rain has ceased, pools of water and mud bear tokens of what has been. But when the clouds have poured out their torrents in summer, when the winds have spent their fury, and the sun breaks forth again in glory, all things seem to rise with renewed loveliness from their refreshing bath. The flowers, glistening with rainbows, smell sweeter than before; the air, too, which may previously have been oppressive, is become clear, and soft, and fresh. Such, too, is the difference, when the storms of affliction fall on hearts unrenewed by Christian faith, and on those who abide in Christ. In the former they bring out the dreariness and desolation which may before have been unapparent. But in the true Christian soul, 'though weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning,' and tribulation itself is turned into the chief of blessings."

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