“When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll”

by John O’Malley

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And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara...” (Ruth 1:20).

Naomi, whose name means “pleasant,” has ended her sixty-seven-mile journey. The home folks are stirring about her and calling out to her. Naomi’s very name seems to haunt her. She blurts out an answer to those who call to her, “Naomi, is that you?” The question, oft repeated, begins to haunt her empty soul. Her very name stands in contrast to her present feelings. Clearly, Naomi is drowning in a sea of personal crisis and agony. 

She replies to her questioners with this mournful sentence: “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” This statement indicates to us that she is a woman self-absorbed in her misery. Had the Almighty dealt very bitterly with her? Is Naomi facing the consequences of her sinful choices since her husband died? Was she facing the providential hand of God as He orchestrated events to lead her in making the right choices in her life? Was it that she was blaming God for all that went wrong in her life? 

Horatio Spafford, the hymn writer, penned these words after his own difficult experience in the song, “It Is Well With My Soul.” He wrote, 

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 
When sorrows like sea billows roll; 
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

What do you say when the sorrows of your life seem to roll like the waves of the sea? Have you learned the Lord’s lesson for Horatio Spafford in the sorrows that attend your way? Do you say in sorrow, “It is well with my soul?” 

Dear reader, remember, your name is “Christian,” not “bitter one.” Let it not stand in contrast to the way you feel inside during each crisis. 

Think about it...


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