Thoughts

From Bitter to Better

Can we just be honest for a second? Sometimes life just stinks. I know it does for me sometimes, and I know it does for you in seasons. But that’s just it, isn’t it? Seasons. Most of the time we look at life as one giant snapshot rather than a series of seasons. There are some seasons that are completely awesome! Then there are others…..well, you know what kind of seasons I’m talking about. In fact, you may be in one right now.  However, I’ve learned that many times, our response to our season, will in turn, determine how long we stay in that season.

Here’s just a real quick example. In the Bible, there is a story of two women, actually a mother and her daughter-in-law, who experience very similar seasons. They both experience the death of their husbands. Now while they both experienced the same tragedy, they responded very differently from each other.

One woman, Naomi, said, “Don’t call me Naomi. Instead, call me Mara (which means bitter) for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.” (See Ruth 1:20-21) Her response to the situation was to get bitter. Instead of feeling the excitement of being with long, lost friends and family, she decided that being bitter was better.

However, Ruth decided that being bitter wasn’t the better response to her situation. Instead of getting mad and upset, even though she shed many tears, she decided to go and work in the harvest field. Instead of holding on to the pain of her past, she knew that working the harvest field to take care of her mother-in-law was the better thing.

So, there’s a few of lessons here:

  1. No matter what season you’re in, be others focused.

    Ruth was more concerned with the well-being of her mother-in-law, than of her own marital status. Instead of worrying about who her “soul-mate” was, she put her hands to the harvest field. We can become so “me-centered” that we can completely miss out on people around us who are hurting. The Bible says that God is looking for harvesters to go out into His harvest field to work. If we’re so consumed by what is happening TO us, we’ll miss out on what God wants to do IN us. Work His harvest field even when you’re hurting. Love others even when they don’t love you back.

  1. Being others focused will cause you to catch the eye of the Master. (See Ruth 2:5)

    Ruth was just working the field, when all of the sudden, the lord of the harvest saw her. He quickly asked his men who that woman was working the harvest field. Likewise, when we begin to focus on others, we catch the eye of the Master. When He sees us loving and serving others, especially during our pain, He notices.

  2. When you’re in with the Master, you have access to His storehouse. (See Ruth 3)

    The Bible says that when Ruth went in to see Boaz, the lord of the harvest, he was lying down in the storehouse. More often than not, the one who owned the harvest, would lie down at the threshold of the storehouse to symbolize that everything in the storehouse belonged to him. Let me encourage you, when you have a relationship with the Master, everything in the storehouse belongs to you too. All you have to do is ask. The great thing is that even though you might be serving in your pain, one visit to the Master can alleviate all of the pain you’re going through. If you need joy, He has it to give to you. If you need peace, He’s ready to give it away. If you need healing, it’s yours. All you have to do is ask the Master.

Ruth eventually became the great-grandmother of King David. Not only that, she also is now part of the lineage of Jesus! Can you image what would have happened if she just got bitter about her situation? It’s one of those great history “what-ifs.” What I do know, is that we will all encounter difficult seasons. We must make up our mind now to respond to that season in the right attitude and with right actions. There is great blessings and great honor when we give of ourselves. From the manger to the cross, Jesus was always giving of Himself no matter what He faced. Let us not walk in bitterness, but rather, let us walk in love. For when we do, we’ll catch the eye of the Master, and experience the most adventurous life one could live.

 

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