Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Ancient Case of Burnout

Rth 1:19 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?
Rth 1:20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
Rth 1:21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Poor Naomi! Her and her guys, husband and sons, had moved many miles from Bethlehem to Moab, to lose all three of them to the grave. She now returns to Canaan with one daughter-in-law in tow, and scraping the bottom of the emotional barrel. She was thoroughly spent.

Her burnout:
1. She had lost so much, the three most important people in her life were dead. 2 of them, probably all three passed before their time.
2. She was now destitute. Social security failed to kick in and there was no safety net. "I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty." This is a statement indicating burnout more than any other.
3. Her health and countenance were broken. When she returned home, the homefolks didn't even recognize her. "Is this Naomi?" they asked in amazement. The city was "moved about them."
4. Her spirit was broken. "…call me no longer Naomi (pleasant) but call me Mara (bitter)."
5. She lost a great amount of respect for the ways of the Lord. "The Lord hath dealt very bitterly with me."
6. She felt a target of God's wrath rather than His love. "...the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"

Little did poor Naomi know that this series of tragedies in her life were a wonderful new beginning, rather than a bitter ending. God was about to do marvelous things for her and Ruth, including the salvation of billions of souls.

It is true, servants of the Lord hit bottom often. We may see it as a bitter tragedy. However, God probably just has a greater thing going on than we could ever imagine.

If you feel totally spent, don't let bitterness grab you, God, Who has brought you home again empty, is able to refill you to greater levels than you could ever imagine.

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