Today’s Truth

Don’t call me Naomi [which means pleasant],” she told them. “Call me Mara [which means bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.

Ruth 1:20

Friend to Friend

I love the story of Ruth and Naomi. The name Ruth means “woman friend,” and we can learn about how to be a great friend by her example. And we can also learn a lot from Naomi, but not necessarily in a good way.                              

In a 10-year period, Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. She blamed God for her afflictions, and in one sense, she was correct. God is sovereign and in control of every aspect of our lives.

However, He was not “out to get her.” His hand was not “against her” as she claimed.

Naomi became very bitter about what had happened to her, so much so that she changed her name to Mara, which means bitter. God never desires for us to become bitter, but longs to allow the difficulties of our lives to make us better.

In Jesus’ last words to His disciples, He compared their relationship to Him to that of a vine and its branches. He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off [lifts up out of the dust] every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2 NIV).

When we experience a loss, it can feel like God’s giant gardening shears have lopped off part of our lives that seems vital to our existence. However, His desire is for us to bear as much fruit as possible, not become stunted by bitterness. Bruce Wilkerson, in his book Secrets of the Vine, notes, “God isn’t trying to just take away; He’s faithfully at work to make room to add strength, productivity, and spiritual power in your life. His goal is to bring you closer to the ‘perfect and complete’ image of Christ.”

He goes on to say, “Not every painful experience is the result of pruning. Is your heart breaking because your teenager is experimenting with drugs and sex? God did not cause your son to do these things in order to prune you. Are you suddenly facing a future with diabetes or cancer? God isn’t purposefully constraining your life just to see how you’ll react. Yet every trial you face is an opportunity to let Him work in your life for abundance. If you invite Him into your circumstances, He will keep His promise to work everything together for your good” (Romans 8:28).

Have you noticed the only difference between the words bitter and better is the letter “i”? When we stop focusing on the not-so-mighty “me, myself, and I,” and start focusing on the almighty God, then we will begin to see our difficulties through the lens of God’s perfect and perfecting plan. If He prunes away a dream, it is only because He has a greater dream in store that will produce more and better fruit.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, please forgive me for allowing bitterness to creep into my heart when life hasn’t turned out like I thought it would. I pray You will use every disappointment in my life for good. Show me how to use my struggles to make me better, and not allow my difficulties to make me bitter. I know I have a choice. Help me choose the right one.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Read the book of Ruth and discover how God turned Naomi’s bitterness into joy. It’s only four chapters and I can promise you will be blessed!

What do you find amazing in Ruth 2:3? Some translations say, “It just so happened.” Another says, “As it turned out.” Oh friend, “It just so happened,” never happens in God’s sovereignty. God so happened!

If you will determine to not allow your circumstances to make you bitter, but pray that God will use them to make you better, click over to my Facebook page and say, “I refuse to be bitter. I am determined to be better!”

More from the Girlfriends

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out like we expected, and sometimes those twists and turns can eave scars in our lives. So what are we going to do about it? I suggest turning that pain into purpose, that hurt into hope, and that mess into a ministry opportunity. Are you ready to do that? Is so, my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past Can Help. Click on the title to read a sample chapter. And while you are on my site, make sure and sign up for my blog, packed with more encouragement and inspiration. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all right there on the homepage.

8 Responses to “Better or Bitter? You Choose.”

  1. Pamela says:

    I so needed to hear this. God handles everything if we allow him. It is so easy to become bitter but God can bring bitter to joy.

  2. Alucia says:

    Thank you so much, as iam texting now iam bitter, for not being unemployed yet iam qualified and i still want to further my studies.

    I have never been this angry in my life, i used to be a bubble person, forgiving, and a good company now all that has vanished.

    I don’t even know where iam standing with God i feel like a disgrace.

  3. Mandy says:

    Prayers for you Alucia that you will find God in every instance and feel his power of peace! God I am liftin Alucia up for your peace, comfort and grace! Loved devotional! One of those difficult topics where our free will can certainly take us places God never intended us to go, however we allow Satan to slip in there! God is awesome! I love you Lord!

  4. Shelly says:

    I have been struggling not to let myself become bitter over some things that have happened in my life. This internal fight has gone on for two years now. Recently, I have been to the point where I was ready to cave in and let the bitterness take over, so this is a very timely message for me. This is a gentle reminder that I need to fight less and trust God more. Thank you! I needed to read this today.

  5. Jessica says:

    I was talking to my father about this the other day. Everyone has something in their past that has hurt them. It seems so easy to be bitter about it. It is harder to forgive and move forward with your life. Honestly, that isn’t true. Holding resentment and anger towards someone takes a lot of effort and his emotionally and mentally exhausting. The weight of a grudge us heavy. I want to give up that weight. I am not strong enough to carry it, but God is.

  6. Jessica says:

    The ultimate sacrifice he made on the cross took care of that burden. It wiped it away. We don’t have to carry it anymore, because God did.

  7. Kat says:

    Thank you for today’s devotion. I am praying right now Lord, to forgive me for letting bitterness into my heart. My surgical recovery has not gone as planned. I am praying for strength. patience, healing, and turn my bitterness into joy. I trust you Lord

  8. ann says:

    I am in a situation where anyone should be bitter. I was bitter but every day I am healing. God has directed my hurt in rejoicing because in every bad experience I found joy because I realize that these experiences are making into a child of God . I thank God every day for his pruning. He is preparing me to live with heavenly being. Thank you girlfriends in God for using you to share Christ with others. I prayed earnestly for you all that you will continue to share and that you will be rewarded a crown of life.

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