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IT IS NOT OVER! May 17, 2009 8:23 AM

Dearly Beloved,
“So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, ‘Can this be Naomi?’ ‘Don't call me Naomi,’ she told them. ‘Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’” (Ruth 1:19-21 NIV).
Recently my family was bereaved. One of my brothers-in-law died. It was a double tragedy as his youngest son, the only child of his new wife, died some hours after his death. We were so sad. We, especially the widow, were so hopeless. It was a very bitter experience. However, as we were coming from the burial of the man, still so sad, the Lord led me to the lives of Naomi and Ruth. I later used the story to console the widow and the rest of us.
Naomi, Elimelech (her husband) and their two sons went to the land of Moab for greener pasture. The two sons married when they were in the foreign land. Unfortunately, Elimelech and the two sons died in that foreign land leaving Naomi and the two young women hopeless. Later, Naomi decided to go back home. Ruth, one of the young widows decided to go with her. Naomi thought it was over for her and expressed it as people were welcoming her back. According to her, the Lord had afflicted her, and there was no hope again. The young Ruth was also hopeless as she followed her mother-in-law back to her homeland. However, God turned their bitter story to a sweet one when He re-established Ruth and gave her a son in her new home. People came to rejoice with both Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 4:13-17). It was indeed not over for both of them!
Are you in such hopeless situation? Are you thinking it is over for you? Are you changing your name from “pleasant” to “bitterness” (as Naomi did) because of your situation? It is not over! There is still hope for you. The Lord will turn your story from bitter one to a sweet one. People will indeed come to rejoice with you.
Let me quote the whole Psalm 126: “When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.  Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him” (NIV).
It is not over!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Request:
Join me in prayers for the widow of my brother-in-law, my aged mother-in-law, and the rest of us that the Lord will grant us the fortitude to bear this loss, and that people will soon come to rejoice with each one of us and all that are in great sorrow now, especially that young woman who lost her husband and only child the same day.

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