Naomi is one of those women that you know of, but have never really known. Because of her more famous daughter-in-love Ruth, the spotlight has always just missed her. About three years ago at a Women’s Bible Study, that all changed for me. I connected with Naomi over the fact that we had both endured the unspeakable – the burial of our children. This is a club few are in and none want to belong to; when you come across other members, you tend to gravitate toward them. That semester was eye-opening for me as Naomi (with Ruth) shared her heart, hurts, and healing with our group.
I reconnected with Naomi last summer for a week and I learned even more from this wonderfully pleasant woman of God. Through her losses, Naomi remained rooted in the knowledge that God is sovereign. She is the first to confess that her losses weren’t easy to endure. (She actually renamed herself “Mara” for a time, which translates bitter.) Her grief was often ugly! Her faith in His sovereignty wasn’t rooted in her feelings, however, as mine tend to be. For Naomi, His sovereign control was a firm & unwavering fact. She knew (with the great Patriarch of her faith, Job) that God gives and God takes away. He is sovereign in the giving and He is still sovereign in the taking away.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21 (NASB)
I invite you to spend some time with Naomi this week. She is a woman who has journeyed through the valley of the shadow of death many times. Because of that, she is uniquely qualified to lead you as you learn to trust in His sovereignty through your own valleys.
My grandfather died when I was in elementary school. My remaining three grandparents followed suit over the next twenty years. My father died on my 23rd birthday. My mother died a few years ago. Within seven months of one another, my husband’s grandparents died (separately) and my second-born son, Jude, died. After my son’s death, we grieved with three separate families at church who also buried their children. Loss has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The fear of loss has been around just as long. It would be accurate to say that I have held those I loved in a death grip most of my life, always fearing the worst-case scenario would be the one that played out. Two years ago, when I read . . .
For I am the Lord your God, the One Who takes hold of your right hand, Who says to you, “Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.” Isaiah 41:13
. . . it was like God reached over to place His giant, gentle hand on my two clinched fists, and said, “It’s okay. You can let go now. You don’t have to be afraid because I am here. I am helping you.”
PONDER: What are your hands holding, clinched in a death grip? Do you trust God enough to let go?
PRAYER: Father, please help me to loosen my grip on these things that I hold dear. Help me to notice when I begin to clinch my fists, holding tightly to anything other than Your hand. Thank You for wanting to help me learn to trust you more fully, with everything.
Death Grip is one of thirty devotionals I’ve written as part of a friend’s devotional project. You can read more short devotionals like this by clicking here or the Devotionals tab at the top of this page.