Ruth 1:19-22 (NLT)
19So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was stirred by their arrival. "Is it really Naomi?" the women asked. 20"Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?" 22So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.


Naomi had originally lived in Bethlehem, but due to a famine she had moved with her husband and two sons to Moab. There her sons had taken Moabite women for wives, but then her husband and sons died leaving her only with her daughter-in-laws. One daughter-in-law, Ruth, remained with Naomi and traveled back with Naomi to Bethlehem where she was greeted by those who knew her. The name Naomi meant “my delight” and Naomi felt no delight in her return, only bitterness. She left with everything and returned with nothing. And in her bitterness felt as though God had forsaken her.


From Naomi’s words it sounded as if God had totally forsaken her. Bitterness can make a person exaggerate their situation and look for nothing but fault and blame. And she was bitter as she admitted. But Naomi missed that she still had life, and that the trials she was facing was just a new beginning. Naomi had opportunity for a fresh start. She had the support of her old friends who were gathering around her, she was home with relatives, and God had provisions there waiting on her. Naomi had Ruth who was a blessing from the Lord. And God would use Ruth in Naomi’s life, because Ruth had come to trust the Lord and follow Him because of Naomi. And Naomi would soon realize the blessings coming forth from the Lord. Eventually Naomi did see God’s work and His plan. And symbolic of the new start in Naomi’s life was the fact they arrived at the beginning of the barley harvest. God was giving Naomi a new start in life even though she couldn’t see it at the time. Maybe it’s time to let God give you a new start. Is there something causing you bitterness in life? God always has a plan for you. If you let go of the bitterness and seek out God He will open that plan up to you. Pray that His will be made known. Ask God to turn any bitterness back to delight and joy.