But she said, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t. The Strong One ruined me.”
(Ruth 1:20-21 MSG)
In the Bible, only God renames individuals, so the fact that Naomi changed her name to Mara (“bitter”), but continues to be called Naomi (“pleasant”) throughout the narrative, tells me something about how God really viewed her situation. Yes, her life hadn’t quite turned out the way she had hoped, but it wasn’t the end. She was quick to write it off as bitter, but God longed to make it better. And if you read the rest of the story, you’ll find that it was a pleasant life. Isn’t that great news?
God isn’t the Author of bitter stories, we are. When their hometown, Bethlehem, became empty of food, it was Naomi and her husband who decided to seek food in Moab. However, the opposite happened; her husband and two sons died there. So Naomi returned to the place she had left. Apart from God, her life had turned bitter, but with Him, it became pleasant again.
Let’s not be quick to blame God for the bitterness in our life; we must face the consequences of the choices we’ve made. But the good news is, as long as we’re living, He is Faithful to change it to something good, if we return to Him, as Naomi did. He is the Author of pleasant stories. You’re better off with Him.