I recently went on the Daniel's Fast with my church family for twenty-one days. Yeah, what an experience! It was indeed life changing. I don't tell you that so I can gain super-spiritual "brownie" points; but only to give you insight to what I'm writing about. One of the things I prayed for during this fast was a renewed perspective.
Then this morning, during my devotion time, I read Ruth 1:20-21:
20) And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21) 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?
Whoa! Hold up. Stop right there. I had to hurry and begin writing...because God opened my eyes to something we probably all need to realize during the hard moments in our lives. It's all to do with perspective too.
God didn't change Naomi's name like He did some others in the Bible. Naomi changed her own name. While it's true that during her time in foreign lands she lost much, she didn't come home empty. Her perspective just wasn't quite right at the moment.
How often do our perspectives get tweaked and out-of-whack during trials or the winter seasons of life? When we're "going thru", how often do we decide - on our own accord - that God is finished with us? Or maybe that we can no longer be a mighty warrior or ambassador for His cause. How many times have we decided that our dream is dead? That we are now past the point of no return because we are simply empty. I dare say we all do it from time to time. Does that make it true?
Naomi came home without her husband and sons; however, she came home with a daughter-in-love that would be in the lineage of the Messiah. The Messiah!!!
Part of the future hope of the world may have relied upon her coming home "empty."
How's that for perspective? And, it was almost like a slap in the face. WAKE UP, girl!!! What feels like empty right now, might very well be the hope of the future. Your future. What I'm going through now, what you're digging yourself out of this very moment, might be a blessing in disguise. We may feel empty - even hopeless at times - yet, we're right where we are because God has a plan that we cannot yet see. We only need a perspective change!
I'm convinced, after going through some heart-breaking, dream-shattering years in my own life, that sometimes the darkest moments are preparing us for great, God-size adventures. We've just got to be able to cling to our faith, trust that God is in control, and open our eyes to see it from another perspective.
It's not our job to change the name of our situations.
Naomi came home from years of being away and everyone still called her Naomi - "Welcome back, Naomi!" Why? Because their perspective of her had not changed. The name Naomi, in Biblical times, meant beautiful, agreeable. These people still saw her that way. Yet, in her state of life, from her perspective, she saw herself only as afflicted, empty, broken, bitter. Mara.
I challenge us all to focus on what God is doing behind our horrifying scenes or bad experiences of life. I wonder what changes would take place in us (and the people around us) if we continue to call our life and situations what God is calling them? What happens if we don't rename our situation, or give up; but instead simply continue to live through them by the grace of God? What if we could stay focused and not lose perspective? What amazing outcome does God have in store for us? What adventure is waiting with our name on it? Here's a secret: we'll miss it if we choose to change our name.
I'm saying to you, "Welcome home, __________!" (Go ahead, insert your name.) No matter what it may look like today, or how empty you might have felt yesterday; hang in there and wait upon the Lord. You may not be able to see it, and it might not seem an easy task, but just begin asking and thanking God for a perspective change and I know He'll do that for you too. I recall a song about what the view is like from the mountain top...we only have to endure and keep on climbing.
Even while you're seemingly in the low-lying areas of your struggle, or in the middle of your darkest storm, thank Him. Then watch and see if He won't give you a God-size adventure and a testimony of your own. Be encouraged today, He has great things in store for you just ahead.