THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TOWARD A HEALED MARRIAGE
I want to look at three women who faced great adversity in their lives. Let me take you back to the Old Testament to the Book of Ruth. I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart today regarding the remarkable women who have influenced your life.
Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, moved his family to the country of Moab because of a famine in Bethlehem, and they lived there for ten years. Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth, and tragedy struck.
Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons…both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” Ruth 1:3, 5-10
Take time to read the four chapters of Ruth which will teach you many things. Although Naomi wanted her daughters-in-law to go back to their people, Ruth disagreed and stayed with Naomi.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. Ruth 1:16-18
The story of Naomi and Ruth reminds us of the selfless devotion and love that existed between these two women. Women, has that happened to you during your marriage problems or divorce? Have you had a special woman in your life who has been an encourager to you? Men, have you had a mother, mother-in-law, or sister who has come alongside you as a prayer warrior and encourager to believe for God’s best?
Naomi had planted seeds of her faith during the years that Ruth was married to her son. She had shared her faith enough that Ruth chose to go home with Naomi when the time came to leave and go back to Bethlehem. Ruth’s faith in Naomi’s God caused her to leave her own family and country. What devotion and love Ruth had for Naomi. But when Naomi went back to Bethlehem, she told the people to call her, “Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” When they arrived, it was the beginning of barley harvest time.
Do you feel bitter, angry, and unforgiving for the circumstances you have been going through like Naomi? May I remind you that everything that we go through has been filtered through the Hand of our Almighty God? Remember Job’s circumstance and how it ended in Job Chapter 42. We must believe God’s Word; that He will bring good out of all of our trials, tribulations, or sufferings if we love the Lord. (Read Romans 8:28, 37-39)
Maybe today is the time to start mending some bridges that marriage problems have destroyed. My mother-in-law was very angry at me when I divorced Bob. She had wisdom that I did not seek or honor for a season until the Lord changed my heart. My mother-in-law loved her son unconditionally despite his behavior. I can now understand that entirely as a mother of three grown children.
While Bob was in the far country, I took a strawberry pie to my mothers-in-law’s for her birthday and asked for her forgiveness for all that I had done wrong. That was the beginning of restoring our relationship. When Bob and I walked into his Mom and Dad’s house on July 7, 1987, after our remarriage, she was the one who said, “I bet you two got married today.” She had quietly believed for our marriage to be restored.
For a season in Naomi’s life, she believed that she no longer had God’s favor and that He was against her, but that was not true. As you read the four short chapters in the Book of Ruth, you will see that God was blessing Naomi and Ruth in many ways. One example was Naomi knew the Mosaic laws and told Ruth to follow the harvesters and “glean” or gather what they left behind. In the Law of Moses, God had commanded Israel’s landowners to permit the poor and needy to collect the grain left in the fields after harvest.
As you read in Ruth chapters 3 and 4, you will see how Boaz, being a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, provided for the needs of his relatives. Boaz also fulfilled the obligation by marrying Ruth and purchasing the land of Naomi’s husband, as was the custom for that day. From the marriage of Boaz and Ruth came the descendants who gave birth to King David, through whom came Jesus Christ. This Book of Ruth should remind you that God is interested in every detail of your life, and nothing happens by chance in the life of a believer. I pray that you will trust the Lord to turn your marriage circumstances around to good as God did for Naomi and Ruth.
The Lord wants all family relationships restored, so let’s forgive and let go of holding any grudges or unforgiveness!
Believe in the Lord’s power,