Although gardening isn’t my thing, I occasionally dig around in the flower beds, pulling weeds. A few days later, I notice that several of them have popped right up again. Frustrating!
I’ve learned an important lesson: the weeds aren’t truly gone unless you dig the root out. Any shred of remaining root and it will grow up again.
So it is with bitterness. We have to get to the root, the heart, of the matter to conquer it.
"Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. Ruth 1:20
Life had been cruel to her and she felt abandoned by God.
She changed her name - from Naomi, meaning joy and pleasantness, to Mara, meaning bitterness and deep sorrow.
I can certainly identify with her feelings.
When I was laid off from my job in 2005, I was certain God had abandoned me and I was furious at God. I nursed the anger until it became bitterness.
He’d failed me, I was mad, end of story.
Ever felt that way? We all have!
What made it even worse was well-meaning people came along and said, “Sherry, God has a purpose.”
So what? Was that supposed to make me feel better?
“You’re not alone. God’s walking with you.”
Yeah, right! If He’d been walking with me, this wouldn’t have happened!
Something that tears our world apart – we get angry at God and allow anger to grow into bitterness.
Someone hurts us and we allow pain to turn into bitterness.
Someone disappoints us and we feel let down – frustration becomes bitterness.
Bitterness ruins relationships, with God and with others.
Even worse, it poisons us from the inside out.
So, how do we overcome it?
Hate to tell you this but we don’t; we can’t. Only the Holy Spirit within us has that power.
How do we find the strength to forgive?
How do we ask for help when our hearts are broken?
It all comes back to our relationship with God.
Do we have the freedom to scream and stomp our feet at God when we feel abandoned?
I say a resounding YES!
If you don’t believe me, read Psalm 13. David begins with accusations but, as God ministers to him, his faith returns.
Can we come to our Abba and pour out our pain?
O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2
God never forsakes us.
He never withdraws His love.
Neither height nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to
Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
He will turn bitterness to joy.
How has God brought you from bitterness to joy?