in my bible reading plan, this morning’s scripture just happened to be my all time favorite book of the bible: Ruth. in fact, i was just talking about this book two days ago, sharing how it’s my go-to whenever i need a Bible pick-me-up, and then here it is in my plan today. i was pretty excited. so i devoured it. again!
i was also reading a commentary on it. and when it was talking about Naomi losing her husband and sons, it said “earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may be made dear.”
i wrote that down in my journal because it really struck a chord with me.
i remember when i was going through a really really tough time several years ago. and it was so hard that i would come home nearly every day in tears. and my poor husband had to watch me struggle and grieve and work my way through it.
one day in his attempt to help alleviate some of my grief, he took me in his arms and assured me that, “you’re a good person.”
but that is not where my grief came from. and so those words that were meant to be a soothing balm, instead became sandpaper scrubbing my already sick heart. they told me that my husband, the person closest to me in my whole life, didn’t even know enough of what i was going through to offer me any wisdom or solace.
i was already hurting. now i felt alone, too.
i was exactly where God needed me to be.
he knew that if my husband could understand and give insight, then i would have been content with that. i would have stopped at human comfort and i would have missed out on something much greater. i wouldn’t have ultimately clung to God in my despair, spending my days and nights calling on his name to help me, change me, mold me, heal me.
but because i found that Jon didn’t understand me at that time, i was forced into the only arms that were left open for me. and i stayed there, reveling in the loving, healing, nurturing of Jesus Christ.
things were really hard. things were bitter. and the harder they got, the more i clung to Jesus. he became the only sunny part of my life, in this winter season of mine.
i clung to him. and cried out to him. i prayed fervently for him. and i sang to him. i wept before him. oh how i needed him. and he is what helped me to endure. he was perfect and sweet and knowing and gentle and exactly what i needed. every minute of the day.
i began to see that no matter how hard things could get, that my Jesus was right here with me. loving me. seeing me through. holding me and protecting me. growing me.
and i fell in love.
it was the first time in my life that i ever welcomed my life on this earth coming to end (don’t get me wrong i wasn’t in any hurry for it to end), not for any reason other than that i would get to see my Jesus face to face.
as i look back years later, that bitter time in my life is also the sweetest. because it took me to a level in my relationship with God that i never even knew existed. and as painful and excruciating as it was, i would do it again. and again and again! …. just so i could drink in the presence of God and glimpse how precious and dear our everlasting life in heaven will be.
yes, earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may be made dear.