In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Ruth 1:1-5 ESV
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes. Psalm 6:1-7 ESV
In the 1800s, a disease struck the potatoes in Ireland. Most of the potato crops died, and since potatoes were the main food of the common Irish people, there was an awful famine. Many Irish people starved to death, and many also immigrated to other countries. Nearly a million Irish people came to the United States. They were trying to survive, but they mostly found life in America to be terribly hard. People who owned buildings divided them into little apartments, often without water. Immigrants lived in very unsanitary conditions and many died of disease.
Naomi had a horribly hard time the way the Irish people did. There was also a famine in Israel at the time Naomi lived. She and her family moved to a foreign country where they could get food. However, her husband died there. Her two sons got married, and then both of them died also. Life seemed terribly sad and hard for Naomi. She wondered if God cared about her and why he let such bad things happen to her.
Sometimes we have very difficult times in our lives too. We might wonder if God cares about us at all, and why he lets these things happen. We can’t always know why God lets things happen they way they do, but we can always be sure that he is with us and that he loves us, even in the worst of times. He came to us in Jesus and suffered sadness and trouble just as we do. Jesus suffered a terrible death on the cross for our sakes. Jesus’ death shows us that God understands our trouble and that he works good things through our problems. Because of Jesus death, we are forgiven children of God, and no trouble can take that away from us.
Dear Heavenly Father, stay with us through the hard times in our lives and remind us of your love and care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.