Everyone has some trouble in their life, some more than others. It may be self-caused, natural causes or externally caused. Regardless of the source, living on this planet can be rough.
Another interesting fact about living on this planet; nothing stops when trouble comes. Bills keep arriving in the mail, landlords still want their rent and don’t get me started about what the grocery store wants when you load up a buggy full of food.
Just because the world keeps moving doesn’t mean that we’re not weeping with you in your sorrow, neither does it mean there’s no compassion.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Take, for example, Naomi. She was a young widow who was living with her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth. Back in those days it was very difficult for a woman without a husband. I can’t imagine that kind of sorrow, but we can study it and learn from it.
You see, Naomi was down, very down. You might say that she had hit rock bottom. We know she was down because of what she said to those back in Bethlehem;
“Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” [Ruth 1:20-21]
Her sadness was so deep that she wanted to be called ‘bitter’ which is also translated as ‘grieved’ in verse 13. “for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.” Can you imagine the depth of hurt that you would rather people call you bitter, grief or sadness? Her words conveyed no sense of hope. Is it any wonder she wanted her daughters-in-law to return to their father’s home? [1:8-14]
FACE THE FACTS
Naomi just presented them with the facts of the matter. That’s a good place to start I suppose. Many folks try to hide from the reality of their pain.
In another story, Joshua had to face the facts when Moses died. The Lord spoke to him and said, “Moses my servant is dead.” Yeah, Joshua knew that, they had mourned the death of Moses for 30 days [Deut 34:8]. So why did God tell him again? To face the facts. God had something for Joshua to do and it was time for him to get after it. God follows up His restating of the facts by saying to Joshua;
“now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” [Joshua 1:2]
Naomi, Ruth and Joshua were in mourning, but life was still moving forward. No one expected them to forget their loved ones, nor was anyone telling them to ‘get over it’ not even God does that. However, what He does expect from all of us, in particular those that are in sorrow, is to keep moving forward. He wants us to keep moving toward Him.
It’s when we understand this that we can have a better understanding of Matthew 6:27; “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Christ then goes onto say;
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Mat 6:33]
He is saying, keep moving forward toward Him, and you will have the strength to discover joy again. This is what Paul learned with the trouble he faced while spreading the Gospel. He wrote to the Philippians;
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
With the help of Ruth, Naomi was able to face the facts and move forward. God retold the promise of Abraham & Moses to Joshua as motivation to keep him moving, and Paul found peace and contentment when he heeded the Word of God.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Phil 4:6-7]
Keep moving forward.