E-votional - Redemption
November 15, 2001
"Call me no longer Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.

Ruth 1:20 (NRSV)


   Broken and battered they could have easily given up. Everything was going wrong. Each and every plan they had failed. And even more, their leader, Jim, had fallen. It was up to Frank, an unproven replacement. As he looked into the eyes of his comrades, he said, come on, lets do this! Mistakes and inability to execute the necessary plans haunting them, they tried again, but they met with the same results, over and over. When it was time to give up and pick it in, with their tails between their legs, they refused. They hung tight and kept going. While they were reeling from he constant failure and, well, plain bad luck, they never gave in to the despair that knocked over and over a the door. January 3, 1993, a day filled with pain.

   Hear the Good News, redemption is a word that is rarely spoken and, it seems even rarer in experience, but it is something that God offers to each and every one of us. For redemption, all we have to do is ask for it, then live knowing we have in fact received it. For Naomi, she watched as she was losing everything. Her husband, her sons, her family. She felt the sting of pain so deeply that she referred to herself not as Pleasant, which her name Naomi meant, but Mara, which means bitter. Ready to throw in the towel and give up, someone, namely Ruth, reached out to her and begin to take the steps, God's steps, towards a redemption for all time. As Mara is open to receive that which Ruth is offering, it opens the door to a timely encounter with Boaz, the man Ruth marries. This marriage brings to us Obed, who brings about Jesse, who brings about David, who eventually brings about the one to "a restorer of life" in a way she could never even dream.

Frank, facing struggle after struggle, never giving in or up, eventually turned everything around and brought about one of the most fantastic, redemptive moments in sports. You see, Frank, was Frank Reich of the Buffalo Bills and his opponent was the Houston Oilers. After falling behind to the Oilers 35-3 in the 3rd quarter, The Buffalo Bills stage the perhaps the great come-back of all times. The word that Ruth offers to us is true. Accept the offer and experience redemption.


   Gracious Father, redemption is such a precious and powerful gift, if only I could understand and grab onto it better. When I fail, I beat myself up, instead of hanging in there. Please, help me to remember the power of grace, because it is and means so much. Thank You for all that You have done in my life and all You will continue to do, for I ask this through Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.