“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me… the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21
All of your experience of life is in a fallen world. This is an abnormal world, a world at war with God. It is also a world that has been ravaged by evil powers.
Your experience in this world will be an extraordinary mixture of good and evil. If you draw your picture of God from your experience of life in this world, you will get God all mixed up with evil, and you will never have a clear view of what he is like.
This is a particular problem for those who have experienced great suffering. If you have seen great cruelty, torture in war, or sexual abuse, your experience has been made painful by the shadow of evil. And if experience was the artist who painted the picture of God that you carry in your mind, then that image will be distorted.
This was Naomi’s problem. Naomi suffered because her husband made a poor decision. He decided to move to Moab, and when the family arrived, he died. Naomi had to raise two sons in a foreign land. She did that, and then they married, and ten years later her two sons died as well.
Naomi came back to her old home in Bethlehem with a broken heart. When her friends welcomed her back she told them to call her Mara, which means “bitter,” because God had made her life very bitter. She had taken her picture of God from her experience. She believed in God, but she was quite certain that this God was against her.
How has your experience shaped your view of God? Can you tell God that you may have a distorted view of him?