Advent | December 02, 2019
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Call Me Bitter

“Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. . . . The Strong One ruined me.
—Ruth 1:20-21 (The Message)

For Tresor, refugee was a foreign concept; he read about it. However, the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo spilled into his town, and he and his family had to flee. He lost touch with his family, and he was alone. His dreams of a job and a family have now become a foreign concept, and he is a refugee.

“Call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow.”

Martha was married, and she and her husband had a son. They had a nice car and home. Things were good. However, recently, her husband moved to another city for a job. When he moved, he brought his girlfriend with him. He came back to collect things. He stopped paying rent on their house. Martha couldn’t afford the rent, so she and her son were kicked out of the house.

“Call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow.”

Life throws curveballs sometimes. Something that we could not have imagined becomes our new reality. We grit our teeth and hold on, and we pray that it will pass. We pray that we can go home. We pray that the husband will see the error of his ways and return. But when that doesn’t happen, how do we live in this new reality?

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death. . . . and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
—Psalm 13:1-4 (NIV)

As we pray this prayer for ourselves and our loved ones, let us call out to God with our hurt and confusion, but let us not stop at verse 4.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
—Psalm 13:5-6

Let us remember as we cry out “How long?” that God sees and is responding. As Naomi called out to God, God’s response, already planned out, was the help of Boaz as a kinsman-redeemer — and yet the ultimate solution came centuries later in the form of a great, great . . . grandbaby, Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, giver of good gifts, you are the one who sees me as I am. Help me to see myself as you see me. Help me to see my story in the light of your bigger story. Give light to my eyes. Amen.

Faye Yu has worked as a program consultant with World Renew since 2014. Born in Taiwan and raised in Wisconsin, she now lives in Malawi, where she brings midwestern hospitality and Chinese cooking (experiments) to unsuspecting Malawian colleagues, as well as doing community development and disaster response work in communities in Malawi.

Give the Gift of Faithfulness

This Advent, give to people likeTresor and Martha who live in poverty around the world and yearn for the opportunity for a more abundant life. Through World Renew’s 2019-2020 Gift Catalog, you can help a family with a filter for clean water to drink, give a child a nutrition kit with the food they need to grow, or provide shelter to a disaster survivor. Choose a gift that gives someone who is poor and hungry a better life today and hope for the future.