There is an interesting observation in the book of Ruth that I didn’t catch until recently. When Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, the women immediately recognized Naomi. But Naomi refused to be recognized as Naomi. In that famous text in Ruth 1, she says, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara for the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” Don’t call me ‘Pleasant’ which is what the name Naomi means, but call me “bitter” which is what “Mara” means. She is asking to be identified as someone different from the way God identified her.
But as you read through the rest of Ruth, no one calls her Mara. The author of the book whom I believe to be Samuel continues to call her Naomi. And even the others in the narrative don’t refer to her as Mara, but Naomi, which is pleasant. Moral of the story: how you view yourself does not change how God views you. How you interpret God’s actions towards you does not change God’s good purpose for you as the text will indicate. God’s mark on you is much more permanent than any identity crisis you undergo. In the end, you may be bitter, but God marked you with his pleasantness and no circumstance can change that.