He delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)
It’s funny how a certain circumstance, or person, can trigger an emotion or memory from our past. Actually, this memory was anything but funny. Many years ago someone blindsided me, and my heart was nearly broken from it. The day was marked with emotional recklessness, spiraling into a whirlpool of despair. My heart pounded till I thought it may jump out of my chest. My thoughts lost clarity, racing randomly like flaming arrows darting across my mind. Worst of all was the feeling of hopelessness which seemed to swallow up my life.
For most people, these uncontrollable thoughts do not happen overnight. Sometimes life can seem to pile on, and push us to the point of emotional and physical breakdown. The first half of Proverbs 13:12 confirms, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick.” Have you ever felt this type of hopelessness?
The Bible Story of Naomi is an example of “unrelenting disappointment,” and in turn, “an example of a very sick heart.” The story begins with Naomi living happily in Bethlehem with her husband and two sons. A great famine sent the family to Moab for food and to start a new life. Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women, and she became a very loving mother-in-law. After a while, Naomi’s husband died, and soon thereafter, her sons died too. Naomi was devastated. Her circumstances, and feelings of hopelessness, sent her into a dark, dark place.
Like Naomi, we all face circumstances, both past and present, which can lead to hopelessness. Her grief, while justified, became her life. Psalm 30:5 reminds us “…Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” But her joy did not return. She had chosen hopelessness as her way. What we do with our feelings of hopelessness will set the pace for the rest of our life, and for the lives of the ones we love.
Naomi was willingly allowing the enemy to steal her tomorrows. He had plucked the sun from the morning sky, leaving her heart in perpetual darkness. She may have wanted to die but God had other plans. Upon returning to Bethlehem she told the townspeople, “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara (meaning bitter), because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” Naomi had a headstrong desire to be miserable, but it was no match for Ruth and her love.
God sent Ruth, Naomi’s loving daughter-in-law, to encourage and invite purpose back into her life. Ruth would not be discouraged or dissuaded in her support for Naomi. It is vitally important we surround ourselves with God’s people, so when life happens, we are not alone. It is also important to plant God’s Word in your heart. His Word was personal and healthy medicine for my feelings of hopelessness. Psalms 42:5-6 seemed to know my heart, “Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!” And then, “I will praise him again, my savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you.”
The writer of this Psalm knew they were in a dangerous place but also knew of God’s unfailing love. They knew the source of life! God sustains us, no matter how seemingly hopeless our situation may appear to be. God offers us His strength, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
For me, my troubles and grief were a short season, and there was “joy in the morning.” I know the Lord, and more importantly, He knows me. This makes sharing and caring for His people that much more important. God wants us to depend on Him for everything, especially for our hope. He delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)
Because of His unfailing love, I choose to live in the second half of Proverbs 13:12, “a sudden break can turn life around.” God will turn your life around when you place your hope in Him. Naomi’s life turned around when she took her eyes off herself and placed them on Ruth and God’s plan. We discover that not only is Naomi a loving mother-in-law, but she also is a loving grandmother to Ruth’s son, Obed. In the first verses of Matthew we see the names of Ruth and Obed in the lineage of Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 40:31 (MSG) offers these words as a strengthening life giving bonus from God, “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Need hope? Need to share God’s hope with another? Regardless of the circumstance or the situation, God will provide you with all the hope you will ever need. After all, He is the Hope of Glory!
Shaped by Faith Prayer
Father, my hope is in You alone! You have helped me out of so many hardships and situations and You have given me a new path to walk on. I am beyond thankful for the life you have given me to live and to share with others! You have known my story all along and You see the bigger picture of what is yet to come. You know what is best for me because You know the outcome of my life depends upon Your leading. Thank You Father, for everything!