He Who Brings us Home


How do you define suffering? Does it affect your view of God? Has it ever changed your spirit, temperament, or countenance? When the pain and the hurt seem totally unfair, what do you do? In the following passage, Naomi had experienced the loss of a husband and two sons and returned home with only a daughter-in-law clinging to her side. She had been through fierce suffering, so much so that when she came back to Bethlehem, people who once knew her asked, “Is this the same person?”

  • How has suffering changed you or your perception of God?


19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.


  1. Who are the two women in this passage, and where were they traveling?
  2. What was the town’s response to Naomi’s arrival? Why do you think people from her hometown didn’t recognize her?
  3. What did Naomi mean by going away “full” and returning “empty”? Who did she say was responsible for her “calamity”? What does this tell you about her view of God?
  4. Where do you return to in grief and pain?
  5. How do you view God in the midst of suffering, sorrow, and a troubled heart? Do you still call him “Almighty”?


Naomi couldn’t see what the future held, but by calling God “Almighty,” she acknowledged that he was in control, even though she felt empty. She returned, not because she believed God had promised her something, but because he was the only source of hope in her suffering. In her emptiness, she came back. In her bitterness, she made the difficult journey to Judah, the place where God was honored and exalted.

Have you turned to the Lord in your time of suffering? Do you ultimately believe he is Almighty God, the all-powerful, all-sufficient, Adequate One in the midst of your pain? By faith, return home to him who is the Almighty in every situation.

  • Ask the Lord to show you places in your life that you have defined as bitter, sorrowful, or grievous.
  • Prayerfully return to him who is always in control.