Third in a Series
The Old Testament character Naomi undoubtedly had a hard life. She experienced famine and exile and lost her husband and her only two sons. As a result, she lived in poverty in her later years. No wonder in Ruth 1:20 she changed her name from Naomi (“Pleasant”) to Mara (“Bitter”).
Naomi also experienced good. She had a husband for some time and produced two sons. She had an unusually loyal daughter-in-law. She remained faithful to the true God. She found a kinsman redeemer in Boaz, was restored to prosperity, and was given a new son.
At the end of her life, looking back, would Naomi have said it was worth it all? I think so. At the end, she was essentially back where she started—at least on the surface.
Beyond the immediate, however, Naomi was far better off. From her daughter-in-law’s son came Israel’s greatest king and the world’s Savior. Was Naomi’s suffering worthwhile if it contributed to saving the world? Yes, of course. But it was even worthwhile for Naomi, since she would also partake in Christ’s salvation. In heaven, her family and everything else she had lost would be restored to her. In another and even greater sense, she would be back where she started. She would be restored to the Edenic perfection of God’s first creation—and even more. Naomi’s story is a picture of the ultimate redemption of the human race.