We all go through storms in life. More often than not they arrive without notice and catch us completely off-guard. We can go from one ordinary day to our world flipped upside down within minutes. Other times, it may not be so sudden but after a while, we look at our lives and wonder how we went from such a good life to so much misery. We may have different ways of dealing with life’s challenges but the Word of God gives an effective approach to take when faced with adversity. God knew that we would have challenges in life so he put the advice there ahead of time. In this book, you and I take a journey through the lives of Joseph, Job, Ruth and Jesus. For every one of them there is a different kind of challenge but in the end, their lives are restored and they have joy again. What started out as hardship or tragedy ends beautifully. So, how did God help them? Why was God’s favor on them? How come it got better for them? What did they do right? These are questions I answer in the book. The answers are important for you because they will help you understand how God works in adversity. They will give you real hope for your situation and set you on the path to experience brighter days.
EXCERPT FROM BRIGHTER DAYS
From Chapter Four, Beauty For Ashes: Ruth
So Orpah listened to Naomi, she kissed her farewell and turned back towards her family home in Moab. As she was leaving, Naomi asked Ruth to follow suit and return with her sister-in-law but Ruth held on to Naomi in tears and declared she would never leave her.
Ruth was ready to give up the pursuit of her own happiness because of the little she had known about God. Deep inside, she felt this was the right thing to do and she was determined not to return to the lifestyle in Moab. She also used the name of God in an oath of loyalty towards Naomi (Ruth 1:17). Ruth already had a relationship with the God of Israel and affirmed it would be so until the day she died.
We can take a leaf from Ruth and hold fast to our faith in God no matter what happens. Instead of getting bitter when we suffer, we should first realize that God is not the cause of our suffering and then acknowledge that it makes more sense for us to remain close to him, because he wants to help us.
We see that when Ruth showed her determination, Naomi had no answer and God’s plan rolled back into motion. Orpah on the other hand, returned to her homeland and forfeited the better life God had for her. God never gives up on us, but we do have the option of giving up on him, and unfortunately, we sometimes take this option.
Ruth and Naomi continued the journey to Bethlehem.
They came close to the city and we can be sure that Naomi had all sorts of thoughts going through her mind. She was going back to her homeland where she had not been for a while. How would the people receive her? What would their reaction be? On entering the city, she was going to be reminded of the life she used to have in Bethlehem; the time when life was good and all her family was with her. She would see the places they used to visit and some people they knew. As Naomi pondered these things, she must have braced herself.
Like Naomi, we will sometimes need to step out of our comfort zone to experience the good life God has for us. His divine plan does not always follow the patterns we expect and in most cases if it were up to us, we would do it differently. Naomi was embarrassed to enter her hometown because she expected people to make all sorts of comments and ask uncomfortable questions. However, this is what God wanted her to do and it would ultimately lead to the restoration she hoped for. In our obedience to God, we should trust that he has our best interest at heart. He will often direct us out of our adversity in small steps, but even if it is uncomfortable, we should keep moving forward.
The two of them continued until they came to the city. They entered Bethlehem and the place was stirred because of them. The women said, “Is this Naomi?” Naomi replied saying, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (From Ruth 1:19-21)
What Naomi feared is exactly what happened. According to the account, “The whole town was stirred because of them” (Ruth 1:19). Naomi was hoping she would enter covertly but quite the opposite happened. This tells us how prominent her family was, that the whole town would be stirred by her arrival. As the women who once knew Naomi looked at her, they asked those uncomfortable questions she had dreaded. They said, “Is this Naomi?”
The Naomi they knew was the wife of Elimelech a prominent man, she wore nice garments, looked well nourished and was happy. The one they saw looked weary, destitute, undernourished and had a grief-stricken look in her eyes. She had no family by her side except for a Moabite woman who looked just as desperate.
It was no coincidence that God allowed Naomi and Ruth be seen by so many in the state they were. He wanted people to see them before and after he gave them a better life. They would become an inspiration to the people of Bethlehem and to those who would read the account of their lives in Scripture.
Naomi felt embarrassed as the women looked at her with pity. It is possible that some who had envied her before displayed a deceitful sympathy. The route of defence Naomi chose though is interesting. “Do not call me Naomi“(literally means pleasant), she said, “call me Mara”, which means bitter (Ruth 1:20). She further stated that God had been against her and brought “calamity” on her.
Naomi wrongly believed that God was the source of her suffering and sadly, many of us have the same attitude. God was not the cause of Naomi’s pain, the evil of this world is from the Adversary and not from God (John 10:10). The God who is all about destroying evil cannot be the same one creating it. It is interesting to note that even as Naomi spoke these misleading words, God was preparing a better life for her. He is gracious and kind to us even when we may not deserve it.
Ebook and Paperback | Find it on Amazon