November 29 Sermon Excerpt
Has life made you so bitter you can’t see God’s love and grace in your life? Naomi's life circumstances made her bitter.
I cannot say it any better than John Piper who wrote this about Naomi, “There’s a lesson here. When we have decided that God is against us, we usually exaggerate our hopelessness. We become so bitter we can’t see the rays of light peeping out around the clouds. It was God who broke the famine and opened the way home (1:6)…And it was God who constrains Ruth to stay with Naomi. But Naomi is so embittered by God’s hard providence that she doesn’t see His mercy at work in her life.”
We cannot control the circumstances in our lives, but as the old adage goes, we can control how we respond to them. Rather than running to bitterness, we’re challenged to run to Jesus and have faith that He is at work according to His plan and for our benefit. Embrace Him rather than bitterness. Bitterness always makes us blind to His work.
No one has more of a right to be bitter than Jesus. Scorned by His hometown. Questioned by His family. Mocked by His detractors. Abandoned by His disciples. Betrayed by one of His key followers. Arrested on a bogus charge. Crucified on a cross. Yet, through it all rather than harboring bitterness toward anyone, He was completely humble and obedient to the will of the Father. His obedience in the midst of so much pain provides us with life both now and for eternity. Jesus heals bitterness.
So our life circumstances some days are good, some days are bad, but nothing takes away from Jesus’ love for us. Brennan Manning said this and its true, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
You are deeply loved. God didn’t abandon Naomi and He won’t abandon you. God’s love is at work in the situations and circumstances of your life, cling to His grace and keep your eyes open to His plan of redemption.
Jesus will heal your bitterness.