One of my intentions for the new year was to develop a stronger relationship with God. I thought that, in addition to attending church more regularly, I’d devote at least five minutes each day to reading my devotional. Using my YouVersion app, I decided to start a plan called “Love Greatly: Broken and Redeemed” not because I’m ‘broken’ or anything at the moment, but sometimes you need a reminder for when the time does come–and it will, eventually. As I started reading the first and second devotional, I realized it focused on Naomi and Ruth. If you’re not familiar with their story, that’s okay. If you’re not Christian, that’s okay too because at some point or another Naomi is all of us. A woman who was happily married with two sons of her own, Naomi lost everything in, what feels like, the blink of an eye. First, her husband died and ten years later, she lost both of her sons. Left with only her daughters-in-law, Naomi was angry. Her spirit was broken as she felt helpless and forgotten. She fought with her daughters-in-law and tried to convince them to leave her be. In the end, Ruth stays with her, but so hurt and destroyed, Naomi focuses on the weight of her sorrows and misses the bigger picture. She felt so alone and heartbroken, she ignores one simple truth: she’s not alone because when her husband and children died and her daughter-in-law left, Ruth stayed. Naomi is so blinded by her pain, she forgets to look around. How often are we so engulfed in our own misfortune and sadness that we, too, forget to look around?
Don’t get me wrong, seeing the big picture and focusing in on the good when the bad seems to overshadow everything is a huge oversimplification and understatement. If you’re thinking that looking around and seeing the glass as half full is easier said than done, then you’re absolutely right! But isn’t it worth it to at least try? When we wallow in our pain and cast aside those we need most and, in some cases, the only people we have left, we’re literally left to walk through this world and go through our struggle alone. We all deal with loss and hardship differently, but it’s a little easier to make it through the other side when there’s someone there to help you carry the burden of your pain. Don’t get too wrapped up (or prideful) that you forget to lean on those who care. Sometimes it’s hard to spot them, but if you look around and look closely, you’ll see they’re standing right in front of your very eyes.