Naomi was a woman who also walked away from her faith. We don’t know much about her husband Elimelech, but what we do know isn’t great. What we know about Naomi paints a picture of a woman who knew the right thing, but just neglected to do it.
After Elimelech died, Naomi could have taken her family back home. She could have fought with her husband about leaving in the first place, but at the very least she had opportunities to go back. She decided not to. She chose to stay among the Moabites. We see later when she tells Ruth about the Israelite traditions and laws that she wasn’t blissfully ignorant of her husband’s sins. She knew she needed to be back in Israel, but instead, she let her family be taken away and when she could have brought them back she instead let her children get married and stay there.
I wonder how different her life would have been if she had come back. I wonder if her sons would have survived. I wonder if she would have struggled. I wonder if she would have been happier.
Thankfully we serve a God so great, he took the mess Elimelech and Naomi made and turned it into something beautiful, but imagine how many hurts and scars could have been avoided had they just listened to the Lord in the first place.
Some of us, we know God’s truth like Naomi did, like Elimelech did. We know what we should do, but like Naomi, we wait until the consequences are way too great to finally listen. We wait until the cost is too high and the damages too great before we finally go back and listen to what God has said. Its why people pour into churches when their life is in shambles. Its why we pray like crazy when things are going wrong. We know deep down we should have been doing it all along, and we hope doing it now will make it better.
Imagine how your life could be different if you did the things you knew you were supposed to do? What if you prayed consistently? What if you studied the word of God? What if you invited your neighbors? What if you forgave those who’ve hurt you?
Naomi knew she needed to go back to the promise land. She waited. She was waiting until things were so bad that staying meant dying. Don’t wait to do the things you know your faith requires of you. Don’t wait until you need prayer to start praying. Don’t wait until you’re hurt and alone to seek community. Don’t wait until you’ve lost things you can never get back before you finally decide to hand everything over to God.