Thursday, May 22, 2014

Naomi's Song

I've said a few times that life needs a soundtrack.  And I've noticed that people who sing have one.  They frequently comment about seeing life as music... about finding their voice or singing their own unique song.  Some of those songs are happy little ballads about sweet and good and pleasant things.  Some are classical and maybe only understood by like-minded and deeply-spirited kindred souls.  Some would be best described as non-melodic cacophonies of discordant head banging.  And some are like the formulaic country songs where 'somebody done somebody wrong.'

Me?  I love listening to all kinds of music and I have definite opinions about what makes a song 'good' but I don't sing.  Trust me... if you ever heard me try you'd be happy I've given up the attempt.  Once I heard a TV character who was now profoundly deaf, but had been hearing as a child, explain her singing this way: "God created a lot of different notes and I intend to use them all."  I tried that.  But it made the cats cry and the dogs howl.  Even my best friend once said I could only sing two parts:  Solo and Tenor.  Meaning:  Solo - so low you can't hear it.  And tenor, as in ten or fifteen miles off-key!

It's good I can laugh about it.

Or we might not be such good friends...

But in all seriousness we each have a soundtrack, a song that we sing to the rest of the world telling them how we feel about our lives.  I've been following along loosely on a short Bible study about Ruth and by association, her mother-in-law, Naomi.  And Naomi has quite the song.  It's so familiar that we can add our voices for a rousing chorus without even realizing it sometimes.  Naomi, while she's in that self-absorbed mode, has the lead vocal on the pity party anthem... oh poor lil ol' me!

From Wikipedia's entry on Naomi.  Painting by
William Blake of Naomi telling her daughters-in-law,
Ruth (hugging her) and Orpah (leaving) to return
to their fathers' houses in Moab.
To quickly review her story:  Naomi lived in Bethlehem with her husband and family. There was the threat of a famine and so they left and went to Moab seeking to avoid the destitution they thought was coming but fell into even more trouble away from home.  Her sons married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah.  All the men died and when the women returned home they were truly destitute.  Naomi convinced Orpah to go back to her father but Ruth insisted on being a faithful companion to Naomi.  Naomi, a name that means "pleasant," asked to be called by Mara, meaning "bitter" though no one ever really does.  She goes on to say she'd left Bethlehem full but returned empty and blames God for making her life bitter.  But reflecting on that... things were not as bad as she'd thought.  Ruth finds favor in the eyes of a kinsman redeemer, Boaz.  And in the end they are saved.

Yes, I know... I left out a lot of details and nuances to their story.

The point, however, is that despite Naomi getting caught up in self-pity and blaming God for bringing bitterness into her life she is still redeemed through Boaz.  In her story, he is the 'type' or 'shadow' of Christ's redeeming love for each of us no matter how much we complain and try to lay the blame for our troubles on Him.  His love is all encompassing and forgiving of our mistakes no matter how deeply we dig ourselves into an awful situation.

And we'd all do ourselves better to make our life's soundtrack a song about that!

No comments: