Today’s Scripture: So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1:19-20

On a recent vacation, I decided to do some snorkeling out in the ocean. As I was coming back in at the end of the day, a wave caught me in the shallows, and I lost my footing. As I struggled to stand up, the waves kept coming in, one after the other, slamming my head against the sand.

Many people have felt the same way at some point in their lives. Life seems to bring a trial out of nowhere, and subsequent trials seem to keep slamming away, leaving them gasping for air. This is probably how Naomi felt in our passage today. She and her husband, along with their two sons, had left their homeland due to severe famine. After they had settled in the foreign land of Moab, her husband and two sons died. Naomi was left with nothing but her two daughters-in-law.

Out of this twisted roller coaster of bitterness, God wove a beautiful story of love and loyalty. While one of the daughters-in-law returned to her people and country, Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi. She came to the point of salvation through faith in the God of Naomi – Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

You might feel like you are riding that same roller coaster of bitterness. You might feel like the waves of 2017 have taken you down, and you fear that the waves of 2018 will keep slamming away at you. Don’t give up – you too can have a fresh start just like Ruth. Ask God to help heal your heart of any bitterness regarding the past and move forward towards a fresh start.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.