Lost and Found

I am of the generation that talked a lot about finding ourselves. Women especially, had an identity shift in the last forty years that for most, probably didn't bring the results they were hoping for. Who we think we are isn't always who we actually are, and rarely who God knows we are.

I'm reading Ruth in my devotions right now. A year or so ago, Naomi became a real person to me, after a long hard season of loss and trials. A woman whose name means "pleasant" had become a woman who identified herself to those who knew her in her homeland as Mara, "bitter". She blamed God for her hardship, this life she'd led; leaving her homeland with her husband, who died and left her with two sons married to pagan women, both of whom then died and left her alone, far from home and family. Returning home, one daughter in law leaves her, one proves to be a daughter in love. Yet, she has no hope for a return to pleasant, she and her life are and will be, in her eyes, bitter.

In scripture, we see peoples names get changed as they change. Abram becomes Abraham, Sarai becomes Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel, Cephas becomes Peter, Saul becomes Paul. They change from what they were, and God gives them a new name, one that reflects who He has made them or is making them to be.

He never changes Naomi's name.

Throughout the book of Ruth, the text never reflects a change in her character or identity by changing
her name. She is pleasant throughout, in the eyes and heart of her Father who knows her best. Despite how she feels, and even how she acts, she is not who she thinks she is.

We have a choice. Determine our own identity by our ambitions, agenda, experiences or circumstances, or determine to know as we are known. Our identity in Christ is transformative  on every level, a complete change from who we have been and a continual change into who He knows us to be. If we follow Jesus, there should be no difficulty in choosing, should there? Oh, but there is, especially as we hold on to who we think we are because of who we have been.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creations; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 

It's possible this is one of the least believed scriptures in the Bible. Who will you believe today? Who you think you are, even who you think you want to be, or who God knows you to be?

Ultimately, we see Naomi in a pleasant place, the daughter of her heart married to a godly man and a grandchild in her arms. But she was Naomi all the long, in bad times and good. Let me, Lord, always find my life, my self, my identity in you.


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