I remember before the Lord took us on this journey of reaching our promises, it was Christmas time. My mom was gracious enough to allow us to stay through the holiday and our deadline to move on was January 1st. At that time, I had no idea what I was about to travel through and Christmas was a time full of wonder and surprise for us.
We must have watched those Christmas Hallmark movies nonstop and everyone was very cheerful, despite the terrifying change that was lurking around the corner. I remember crying during one of those Hallmark movies because there was a family who ended up without a home. A very kind man brought the family into his care. During their stay with that very kind man, the man passed away.
The homeless family was devastated because it looked as though they were going to be out in the cold and far from the comforts of a home once again. However, there was a sudden surprise when the family discovered that the kind man had left his home and all of his money to that family. What appeared to be the darkest nightmare became a dream come true. Finally, that family had rest from the adversities of suffering.
The other night I started to watch one of those Hallmark movies and I cried again. Only this time, I cried because it hurt so much. It hurt so much to see those characters in the movie celebrating and enjoying the season in the comfort of a home. My tears came from a reservoir of bitterness that had been building from the walk of suffering.
Then in the night, the Lord showed me that I had been holding onto an excessive amount of pain. I remember Him speaking these exact words to me, “I have taken you from the ends of the earth to where you are now”. Like Naomi from the story of Ruth, I was mingling in a place of despising my life.
Do not call me Naomi ever again, for I am no longer pleasant. Call me Mara instead, for I am filled with bitterness because the Highest One has treated me bitterly. I left this place full, in spite of the famine, but the Eternal has brought me back empty from a plentiful land….
Ruth 1: 20-21
However, the Lord gave a promise and He was looking at where we were going. Naomi couldn’t see beyond her pain. She took her tiny thread of last hope and began to travel to the “House of Bread” where there was supposed to be a blessing. Even in her anguish, she had a mustard seed of faith to believe in a promise of blessing.
When we are drowning in the bitterness of the pain that we have endured, it can be hard to remember why we first started. Our eyes sting from the tears in remembrance of all the pain and the vision of what we have been moving into becomes blurry.
To Naomi’s surprise, the Lord showed up with a blessing that gave her rest from the struggles of poverty and famine for the rest of her life. That new bouncing baby of joy was her new source of support as she found rest with the Redeemer. Finally, she made it to the other side. No longer did she have to walk in the tension of bracing herself in fear of suffering more pain, but her soul could rest in knowing that she would be cared for always with comforting ease.
I am clinging to every last ounce of hope for the Lord to answer a specific prayer for a surprise to brighten up our season so that I can give my kids a special new memory with holiday gifts. I am also asking Him to help me see beyond the pain of where I have walked so that I can focus on the promise that He gave before we ever started. I am working through the process of letting go of that pain for fresh healing and to embrace the new things that are coming.
Anguish is a devastating thing, but the hope of our promise is stronger. I pray that God would fill those of us who are dry and weary from the wilderness travels with refreshing streams that suddenly appear to bring rest from those things that have caused pain.
Then Naomi held the child tightly in her arms and cared for him. All around her, friends cried out, “Naomi has a son!” They named the child Obed because he would provide for his grandmother. Ruth 4:16
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