Have you ever been through such a dark time that you had trouble noticing any light around you? Has your burden ever been so great that the blessings in your life seemed to be swallowed by the darkness?
The Bible tells us in the book of Ruth that Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi experienced this very thing—she missed seeing a wonderful blessing. It’s not hard to understand, though, when you consider all she’d been through.
While living in a foreign country to escape the famine in their own, Naomi’s husband died. About ten years later, both of her sons died as well. She and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah were left alone. Can you imagine the depth of grief they must have experienced?
Eventually, the famine lifted in her home country, and Naomi decided to return, taking her daughters-in-law with her. As they were traveling, Naomi realized that Ruth and Orpah would be better off to stay in their home country with their own mothers. At Naomi’s urging, Orpah finally decided to head back home, but Ruth could not be dissuaded to leave Naomi. She pledged her allegiance and continued on the journey.
When Naomi was recognized and greeted as she and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, Naomi summed up her life of late by focusing on the dark times and saying, “‘Don’t call me Naomi … Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.’” (Ruth 1:20-21a)
Yes, Naomi had every reason to feel covered by a blanket of grief, but she allowed it to blind her to the fact that she had a great blessing in her life—she had Ruth. God had not brought Naomi back empty. She, however, couldn’t see that yet. Because of the darkness she felt, her blessing escaped her notice.
As we face dark times in our own lives, do we fail to see our blessings? Let’s do our best in those times to remember to look for the light around us. Let’s lift our eyes upward and outward and see the good things God has placed in our lives. Let’s look for the blessings.
“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.” Psalm 112:4
*How has God blessed you during a particularly dark time in your life?