Thinking through Tragedy, Part 2
Tragedy usually involves a loss or a sudden change of some kind. When this happens, it is a natural (and sinful) reaction to focus inwardly. We do this as people. We naturally have a man-centric viewpoint, so we when suffer tragedy, we tend to ask questions like “why me?” “where is God?” “couldn’t He have stopped this?” and so on.
We tend to miss the big picture (God) and instead focus on the small picture (us). We saw last time how in this time of change Naomi wasn’t thinking straight and instead of allowing her daughter-in-law’s to come to Judah with her, she encouraged them to stay away from the Land of Blessing. She knew God, the Source of blessing and yet couldn’t see the fallacy of her advice.
I want to look more into her response today and note that when we blame God,(v. 20-21) tragedy will blind us instead of allowing us to see things more clearly.
In her response to the girls, she wrongly saw herself as the source of blessing (instead of God) and rightly saw that she would come up short.
When the girls insisted on coming along (v. 10), Naomi took a look at her resources and concluded that it wasn’t enough.
“And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.” Ruth 1:11-13
The Jewish law stated that if a man dies, the wife is to marry his brother to bring forth an heir. But in this case there were no more brothers, and even if Naomi were to get married again, it would take too long for new sons to rear up. She had nothing left to offer
But Naomi was so fixated on what she couldn’t offer the girls that she was blind to what God could offer the girls. And in fact, Ruth was going to find all of the things she needed in Judah because of God, not back in Moab.
And so, despite her anger, Naomi has to learn that God is enough.
Friends, in times of tragedy, do we take inventory and decide that we can’t do it?
Either for ourselves or others? Now this is true in and of itself, we can’t. But God can.
We don’t need more than God. If God doesn’t supply it, then we don’t need it.