Posts Tagged ‘ugliness of pain’

The Ugliness of Pain

Mar 03

by Victoria Robinson

Have you ever seen a woman who no matter how beautiful her clothes, hairdo, and makeup are is just plain ugly? This ugliness stems from the pain of her inner self. She has been hurt deeply and is scared, bitter, or is just writhing in pain. Such appears to be the case with a woman named Naomi we find in the book of Ruth. She was so bitter that she changed her name and said, “Don’t call me Naomi, … Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.” It is interesting to note the name Naomi means “my delight” while Mara means “bitter”. This woman went from delightful to bitter. One can only imagine the ugliness of perhaps a haggard and drawn face this poor woman might have had. Just what brought Naomi to this point? She was left alone in an ungodly foreign country where her husband and sons died.

Contrast the story of Naomi with that of a precious friend of mine, Nancy, who recently became a widow. The beauty of Nancy shined through at her husband’s funeral. I watched as she raised her hands in praise to God for His goodness even at a difficult time. Her beauty continued to glorify God as she had planned the entire funeral to bring salvation to the lost who were in attendance. This is a memory of a beautiful woman I shall forever cherish.

Later in the book of Ruth we see Naomi as a beautiful woman who had gotten beyond her pain. Her friends said, “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

Understandably in the midst of our darkest days, we may never look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman outwardly. Yet even during these trials, others can see our inner beauty if our hearts are in right standing with our Lord. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would seek the inner beauty only godliness can give us.

So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” ~ Ruth 1:19-21 NIV
 
The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” ~ Ruth 4:14-15 NIV
 
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ~ Hebrews 12:15 NIV
 
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. ~ James 3:14-16 NIV
 
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. … ~ 1 Peter 3:3-5 NIV