When Naomi lost her family, her home and her ambition, she changed her name to Mara. Big deal? Yeah. Naomi meant pleasant, Mara bitter. Her losses gave her a new identity.
Since the Bible doesn’t tell everything about all that went on, I believe there was a conversation left out of this story. Someone who knew Naomi called her by that name. She said, “Don’t call me that anymore. I am now Mara.”
“Who told you you were now Mara?” the unnamed person asked.
“No one. I told myself that.”
“So you are choosing Bitterness to identify who you want to be?”
“So you’ve decided becoming bitter is how you’re going to deal with your loss?”
“How long do you plan to be bitter?”
“As long as it takes.”
“As long as what takes?”
“What is it?”
“I have no idea.”
Paul experienced a loss of some magnitude he couldn’t even describe what had happened—only that it left him with a disappointing thorn in his flesh. He asked God to remove it. Remove it or what? What would he do if God chose not to remove it? What if he had to live with his disappointment? How would that affect him?
Well, what Naomi missed, Paul heard. “My grace is sufficient for you,” God said. “You’re still going to carry this thorn but my grace will be your strength.”
Naomi chose a reaction that redefined her identity. Paul allowed his identity to keep him the same.
God never got off the throne in either situation. Naomi thought He had. Paul knew He hadn’t.
I think I will stand with Paul today. Because the throne of God isn't up for grabs.